Thursday, June 20, 2024

“Unanswered Questions Surround Another Mysterious Russian Plane Crash Near Ukraine Border”


Russia accuses Ukraine of downing plane with 65 POWs on board | Russia- Ukraine war News | Al Jazeera

The cause of the Russian military transport aircraft crash near the Ukraine border on Wednesday remains unclear, with questions arising about whether it was downed by a missile or experienced a technical failure. All 74 individuals on board, as reported by Russian authorities, lost their lives.

Initial images of the wreckage are inconclusive, showing the aircraft’s final moments before a large fireball. Russian authorities assert that Ukrainian missiles were responsible, resulting in the deaths of 65 prisoners of war, six crew members, and three Russian personnel on the Ilyushin Il-76.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, an anti-aircraft missile system in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, near Liptsy, about 50 miles from the crash site, destroyed the plane. The ministry alleges that Ukrainian leadership was aware of a planned prisoner exchange at the Belgorod airfield but did not acknowledge firing at the transport plane.

Ukraine’s military command views Russian military aircraft near Belgorod as legitimate targets but refrains from confirming the attack on the Russian plane. The distance from Liptsy to the crash site exceeds the range of most Ukrainian ground-to-air missile systems.

Amidst the conflicting claims, Andrey Kartapolov, chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, accuses the use of US-made Patriot or German-made IRIS-T missiles supplied to Ukraine. Ukraine denies using foreign-donated weapons to attack Russia.

Reports indicate heightened Russian missile defenses and the downing of a Ukrainian drone in the area on Wednesday. However, there are discrepancies in accounts of the drone incident’s location.

Questions arise about the number of Russian personnel on board guarding Ukrainian prisoners, with differing accounts from sources. The incident adds political dimensions to the ongoing information war in the conflict.

Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, emphasizes the importance of information warfare, while the Russian Defense Ministry accuses Ukraine of neglecting its citizens’ lives through a terrorist attack.

The situation prompts reflection on past allegations of Ukraine causing harm to its own prisoners, raising doubts about the current incident’s narrative. The lack of independent on-the-ground analysis complicates the assessment.

Considering the context of increased Ukrainian attacks into Russia, including the claimed downing of a Russian A-50 aircraft, questions arise about the risk and purpose of the Russian aircraft approaching Belgorod. The possibility of a mistaken attack by Ukrainian air defenses, if confirmed, would overshadow any perceived victory.

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