There has been no official confirmation on who caused the accident, but Russia blames Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine are locked in a dispute over the bodies of those killed in the crash of a Russian military transport plane who Moscow says were Ukrainian prisoners of war.
A Ukrainian intelligence official said on television Thursday evening that kyiv had urged Moscow to return the bodies of those killed in the attack. January 24 crash, which Russia blamed on Ukraine. He said Moscow refused.
Andrii Yusov, spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence, reiterated kyiv’s view request an international investigation into the crash over Russia’s Belgorod region to determine whether the cargo plane was carrying weapons or passengers with the crew.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the official RIA Novosti news agency on Friday that the Kremlin had not received a Ukrainian request to hand over the bodies.
Russia would not only welcome, but also “insist” on an international investigation into the destruction of the plane, Putin said this week, describing the accident as a “crime” committed by Ukraine.
Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied that its forces shot down the Ilyushin Il-76 plane that Russia said was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war. Russia’s claims about the prisoners could not be independently verified.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, the state’s main criminal investigation agency, said the plane was shot down by the U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system, which Western allies supplied to Kiev for last year. war against Russia.
The committee said it recovered 116 fragments of two missiles fired from a Patriot system near the village of Lyptsi in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, located across the border from Belgorod. There was a video purporting to show missile fragments lying in the snow with markings purporting to prove their origin.
He also said he had identified all the victims of the accident.
Russian officials said there were 74 people on board – 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, six crew members and three Russian servicemen – all of whom were killed.
Despite the crash, the two countries carried out a prisoner exchange Wednesday, each exchanging 195 prisoners of war.
The war between Russia and Ukraine, which is approaching its two-year mark, continues to rage, with Russia carrying out long-range strikes on Ukraine with missiles and drones.
Ukraine said on Thursday it had used maritime drones to attack and destroy a Russian warship in the Black Sea, near the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia.
In Kryvy Rih, the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a drone strike damaged an energy facility, leaving 100,000 beneficiaries without power and 113 coal miners stranded underground in two mines. Oleksandr Vilkul, chairman of the central city’s defense council, said all miners were brought to safety after power was partially restored.