Zelensky calls for an international investigation into the crash of a Russian plane in Belgorod

01/22/2024 January 22, 2024, Kyiv, Chernihiv Region, Ukraine: KYIV, UKRAINE – JANUARY 22, 2024 – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint meeting with Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk and students at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine POLITICS Europe Press/Contact/Volodymyr Tarasov

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, called this Wednesday for an international investigation into the crash of a military plane in Belgorod, near the Russian border, for which Moscow blames the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The authorities of the Russian region of Belgorod have confirmed the death of all 74 occupants of the plane, in which there were supposedly 65 Ukrainian prisoners on board who, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, were going to be exchanged for Russian military personnel. “It is evident that the Russians are playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners, with the feelings of their families and with the emotions of our society. It is necessary to clarify all the facts,” the Ukrainian president stressed. Zelensky has summoned Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, as well as the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeri Zaluzhni, to discuss the accident, he reported in an afternoon speech reported by the Ukrinform news agency. As he detailed, the Ukrainian Security Service “is investigating all the circumstances” surrounding the accident. Zelensky has also ordered Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba to inform Ukraine’s partners “about the available data” in this regard. Rodion Miroshnik, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in charge of supervising possible war crimes committed by Ukraine, has held Kiev responsible for what he considers a “demolition” and has pointed out that it is an “act of barbarism that shows a total contempt for human life.” For its part, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has assured that it does not have “reliable and complete information” about the passengers on board the plane, but it has acknowledged that a prisoner exchange was planned for this Wednesday that finally it has not occurred. Ukraine and Russia have agreed on several prisoner exchanges since the start of the Russian aggression in February 2023, the most massive of which this month. Thanks to Emirati mediation, nearly fifty people from both sides were able to return to their homes.

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