Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov stated that the Russian Il-76 aircraft did indeed crash in the Belgorod region, but there were no Ukrainian prisoners of war on board.

Danilov made these remarks in an interview with Babel.

“I can tell you for sure whether our prisoners were there — no. I say this based on our experience after Tehran and based on what happened later. If it had really happened, the number of biological material, so to speak, casualties, would have been significant”, he said.

Danilov believes that if Ukrainian soldiers were indeed there, the Russians would have definitely used the situation and filmed it for propaganda purposes.

“There was nothing like that there; they had the whole story prepared. So let’s just wait. If it had happened, Lavrov would have rehearsed it at the UN, and they would have shown everything. They have nothing to show because if it had really happened, the picture would have been completely different”, he added.

Additionally, Danilov noted that despite the lack of evidence that Ukrainian prisoners were on board the plane, it is currently unknown whether Ukrainian soldiers, who were supposed to be exchanged that day, are alive.

The Il-76 aircraft crashed in the Korochansky district of the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation on January 24. Russia claims that there were allegedly 65 Ukrainian prisoners on the plane, along with six crew members and three accompanying persons. Ukrainian intelligence stated that they do not have verified information about who was on board the Il-76 aircraft. Additionally, the Ukrainian side was not informed about the “need to ensure airspace security in the area of the city of Belgorod”.

Photo: open sources