Conflicts & War

Ukraine admits Russian plane shot down may have been carrying prisoners

United Nations, Jan 25 (EFE). – The Ukrainian government on Thursday admitted the possibility that the Russian plane shot down near the border was transporting 65 Ukrainian prisoners for an exchange.

Until now, Ukraine had denied that the plane was carrying passengers, claiming that it was transporting weapons.

Ukraine’s deputy UN representative, Krystyna Hayovyshyn, addressed a Security Council meeting Thursday specifically devoted to the plane incident.

“If prisoners of War on board is confirmed we will have another confirmation of gross violation of international humanitarian law by Russia and the first case of Russia using a human shields in the air to cover the transportation of missiles,” Hayovyshyn said

This is the first official Ukrainian statement admitting that the information provided by Russia may be true: that the plane was carrying 65 prisoners, three guards, and six crew members, all of whom were killed by a Ukrainian projectile.

The Ukrainian representative provided another detail that also supports the Russian thesis as she said that her country had filed a criminal complaint against Russia for violating the Geneva Convention.

“The Russian Federation also violated article 130 of the convention by failing to ensure the safety of prisoners of war during transportation and used an object for transportation that is a legitimate target due to its military use,” Hayovyshyn explained.

However, the Ukrainian diplomat insisted that, according to military intelligence, only five bodies were taken to the morgue in the city of Belgorod after the accident.

Hayovyshyn once again called for an urgent international investigation into the events, adding that whatever the outcome, “Russia bears full responsibility for the lives of Ukrainian prisoners of war.”

During the meeting, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, intervened to clarify that the UN could not independently confirm the mutual accusations of Russia and Ukraine regarding the incident.

The deputy representative of the United States, Robert Wood, did not deny the veracity of the Russian version of events. EFE

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