Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security Council has said there were no Ukrainian POWs aboard a Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft downed in Belgorod last month.

In an interview with Babel, Oleksiy Danilov said the 2020 downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 by Iranian forces meant they have experience dealing with crash sites involving a large number of victims.

He said that “biological material” would have been present in such quantities that Russia would not have wasted the opportunity to film it and present it as evidence.

“And that field would be all red from blood. There was no such thing there," he added.

He concluded: “Were there Ukrainian POWs? I can tell you – no.”


Uncertainty remains over the circumstances of last month's crash, in which a Russian Il-76 military cargo plane was downed in a field near its western border with Ukraine.

Moscow says that 65 Ukrainian POWs being carried to a scheduled exchange were killed and that the plane was shot down by Kyiv's forces.

Kyiv has not outright denied Moscow's version of events but questioned whether captured Ukrainian soldiers were actually on board, and called for Moscow to publish photos of their bodies or provide other evidence to back up its claims.

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