According to the Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, Kristina Gayovyshyn, if the information that there were Ukrainian prisoners of war on board the Il-76 is confirmed, this will be the first time Moscow has used a human shield in the air.
The Russian Federation did not inform Ukraine that it was going to transport prisoners of war on an Il-76 military transport aircraft. This was stated by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, Kristina Gayovyshyn, at a meeting of the UN Security Council on January 25.
Gayovyshyn noted that recently the Russian occupiers have intensified shelling of the Kharkov region, which led to casualties. According to her, these attacks are associated with an increase in the number of military transport aircraft, in particular Il-76, which have recently been arriving in Belgorod.
The Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN recalled that such aircraft are a legitimate military target. In this regard, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will continue to take measures to destroy them in order to prevent terrorist attacks from the Russian Federation.
Gayovyshyn also mentioned that an exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia was supposed to take place on January 24. She emphasized that the Ukrainian side ensured the safety of Russian prisoners and promptly delivered them to the exchange site.
At the same time, Russia, according to Gayovyshyn, did not inform Kyiv about the number of vehicles, routes and methods of transporting prisoners. Moscow also did not warn about the need to maintain the safety of the airspace near Belgorod during a certain period, as was done repeatedly in the past.
According to the Deputy Permanent Representative, such actions on the part of the Russian Federation may indicate a deliberate threat to the life and safety of prisoners.
“If the information that there were Ukrainian prisoners of war on board the plane is confirmed, this will be the first time Russia has used a human shield in the air to cover the transportation of missiles for their further use against peaceful Ukrainian cities,” Gayovyshyn said.
Il-76 crash near Belgorod: what is known
Let us remind you that on January 24, the media reported that a Russian Il-76 plane crashed in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation. Russian journalists stated, citing the Russian Ministry of Defense, that there could allegedly be Ukrainian prisoners of war on board who were being taken for exchange.
In turn, Andrei Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, noted that the Il-76, which crashed in the Belgorod region, had previously delivered weapons to Russian soldiers.
In addition, Yusov said that after the crash of the Il-76, only five bodies were delivered to the Belgorod morgue, and representatives of the FSB and the Russian military did not allow employees of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations to inspect the crash site.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also pointed out that comments by Russian officials regarding the downing of an Il-76 aircraft in the Belgorod region are consistent with some other Russian information efforts aimed at weakening Ukraine internally.