Ukraine-Russia Trade Blame on Downed POW Plane

Ukraine-Russia Trade Blame on Downed POW Plane

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned Moscow for endangering the lives of Ukrainian prisoners in the aftermath of a fatal plane crash near the border.

Following Wednesday's incident in Russia's Belgorod region, where an Il-76 plane carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, six Russian crew members, and three escorts crashed, Zelensky called for an international inquiry.

Russia claimed the plane was downed by Kyiv for a planned prisoner exchange, but Ukraine's military intelligence, suggesting it had not been informed to secure airspace, hinted at a possible responsibility.

Zelensky, in a video address, emphasized the need to establish clear facts and accused Russia of manipulating the situation.

Despite initially stating the plane carried missiles for air defense systems, Ukraine's general staff later pointed to Russia's responsibility for ensuring safety under previous agreements.

The planned prisoner exchange was clouded by conflicting accounts.

Ukrainian officials affirmed the safe delivery of Russian servicemen to the exchange location, while Russia's defence ministry accused Ukraine's air force of firing anti-aircraft missiles.

The situation was exploited by Russia to portray Ukraine as the aggressor, despite Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022.

The incident unfolded amid heightened tensions, with Russia intensifying air attacks and Ukraine grappling with ammunition shortages.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov highlighted Russia's extensive use of missiles and drones, while Ukraine primarily relied on drones for its defense efforts.

The war in Ukraine persists, with recent territorial claims by Russia unconfirmed by Kyiv, and both sides engaged in ongoing conflict.

In the context of broader events, the plane crash has added complexity to the already strained relations between Ukraine and Russia, further shaping the narrative of the conflict.

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