Kremlin Agrees to Zelensky's Call for International Investigation, But Sets a Major Condition

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.25 - 2024 11:50 AM CET

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Photo: President's Office
Photo: President's Office
Kremlin Agrees to Zelensky's Call for International Investigation.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for an international investigation into the crash of a Russian Il-76 plane near Belgorod on January 24. This plane was reportedly carrying 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers, including potentially 12 members of the Azov battalion. The soldiers were supposed to be exchanged for personnel of the Russian Armed Forces.

Zelensky has tasked the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs with informing international partners about the available data. “Our state will insist on an international investigation,” Zelensky stated. He also instructed the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense to determine the fate of all the prisoners.

Upon learning about the crash, Zelensky canceled his planned trip to central Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s Response

According to Lenta.ru, Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the Russian President, responded to Zelensky’s demand. Russia agrees to an international investigation but asserts it should also encompass 'the criminal actions of the Kyiv regime,' emphasizing the need for clarity on Kyiv's crimes.

Peskov denounced the Ukrainian Armed Forces' alleged attack on the plane as a "monstrous act," accusing Ukraine of dealing with its own citizens, who were set to return home shortly. The impact of the Il-76's destruction on future prisoner exchanges remains unclear, according to the Kremlin.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that a prisoner exchange was planned for January 24, following a 192-for-192 formula, to occur at the Russia-Ukraine border. Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate confirmed that such an exchange was indeed scheduled for that day.

Russian State Duma deputy Andrei Kartapolov stated that Russia had timely communicated its plans for transporting the prisoners of war to the Ukrainian command, implying the Ukrainian Armed Forces were aware they were targeting Ukrainians. Ukraine, however, reports that no communication had been made to them.

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