Russia claims it warned Ukraine before plane shot down. Ukraine denies it.

Both sides continue to make conflicting statements about the incident

A Russian lawmaker with close links to the Defense Ministry said on Thursday that Ukraine had been notified 15 minutes in advance of a Russian plane carrying Ukrainian PoWs entering a zone where it was later shot down.

Ukraine rejected the claim by Andrei Kartapolov, a former general and the head of Russia’s parliamentary defence committee, and demanded an international probe into the incident.

Russia blames Ukraine for shooting down the Ilyushin Il-76 plane in its Belgorod region on Wednesday, killing all 74 people on board, including 65 Ukrainian soldiers who were being exchanged for Russian captives. Ukraine has not admitted or denied responsibility, but disputed some aspects of Russia’s story.

“Ukraine was officially informed, and they received and confirmed the receipt of the full information 15 minutes before the plane entered the zone,” Kartapolov told lawmakers, citing the ruling United Russia party.

“We all know very well what happened next,” he added.

His statement contradicted Ukrainian military intelligence, which said Russia had not shared any details about the flight plan.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence, told Reuters on Thursday that Russia had made no requests to Ukraine to avoid attacks in the airspace where the plane was hit, unlike in previous PoW swaps.

He said Ukraine had been flying reconnaissance drones in the area, and that Russia had deployed attack drones to target them. He said there was “no confirmed information” that Ukraine had struck anything.

He also suggested other possible scenarios, such as “provocation” or “using Ukrainian prisoners as a human shield for transporting ammunition and weapons for S-300 systems (being used in the war)”, in an earlier interview with Radio Svoboda.

The two sides have been giving conflicting accounts of the war, which is approaching its second anniversary. But Wednesday’s crash, the worst of its kind on Russian soil, has raised the stakes even higher.

Emergency services said they found fragments of what looked like a missile at the crash site in Russia’s southwest, near the border with Ukraine, according to the TASS state news agency on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for more clarity about what happened, especially about who was on board, and accused Russia of “playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners” on Wednesday.

He urged an international investigation, a call backed by Ukraine’s ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets on Thursday.

“But I am convinced that… the Russians will make loud statements but will not let anyone in. They will not give any materials for analysis and will just blame Ukraine,” Lubinets said on national television.

Russia has exclusive access to the crash site, where TV footage showed debris strewn over snow-covered fields. TASS said the plane’s black boxes had been retrieved and would be sent to Moscow for analysis at a defence ministry lab.

The United Nations Security Council was set to meet at 2200 GMT on Thursday at Russia’s request to discuss “the reasons behind the Ukrainian criminal act”.

France, a permanent member of the Security Council, said it could not verify Russia’s claims about the incident.

Share this news
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments