Day 703 of the Invasion of Ukraine: More Unknowns About The Plane Crash

World » UKRAINE | January 27, 2024, Saturday // 15:27
Bulgaria: Day 703 of the Invasion of Ukraine: More Unknowns About The Plane Crash

Day 703 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Putin: There are over 600,000 people from the Russian side in the war zone with Ukraine
  • A Russian service said video footage showed Ukrainian soldiers boarding the plane before the crash
  • Ukraine Invites Chinese Leader Xi Jinping to 'Peace Summit’

Putin: There are over 600,000 people from the Russian side in the war zone with Ukraine

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine knew that there were prisoners of war from the Ukrainian armed forces on board an Il-76 plane, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. He also said that there are more than 600,000 people from the Russian side in the war zone with Ukraine.

According to the Russian president, it is clear that the missiles that brought down the plane were fired from territories controlled by Kyiv. Ordnance recovered from the crash site points to French or US air defense systems. "It will become clear in a few days," Putin also said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

The Russian president admitted that the missiles may have been launched due to ignorance of how air defense systems work. On Wednesday, an Il-76 military transport plane was shot down over the Belgorod region, allegedly carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners for exchange. Also on board were six Russian crew members and three military police officers.

Before the disaster, the Russian military registered the launch of two anti-aircraft missiles from the territory of the Kharkiv region. According to the first deputy head of the Defense Committee of the Federation Council, Viktor Bondarev, the crew managed to report an external impact.

The Russian Ministry of Defense emphasized that Kyiv was aware of the transport of Ukrainian servicemen for the upcoming exchange, which was to take place later that day on the border of Belgorod and Sumy regions.

A Russian service said video footage showed Ukrainian soldiers boarding the plane before the crash

Russia's Investigative Committee released a video it said showed Ukrainian prisoners of war boarding the plane that crashed in southern Russia, Reuters reported.

However, Ukrainian commentators immediately questioned the authenticity of the recording.

The committee, which is Russia's main investigative body, posted the video on its Telegram channel. It shows vehicles approaching the Ilyushin Il-76 plane at a snow-covered airport, then disembarking people preparing to board.

The recording is silent and accompanied by a single caption explaining that these are Ukrainian servicemen boarding the military transport plane. The location is not specified.

So far, there is no official comment from Ukraine.

Ukrainian Radio NV noted in its commentary that: "Due to the poor quality of the video, it is difficult to understand exactly what is happening (on it)."

Moscow accuses Kyiv of shooting down the plane on Wednesday over Russia's Belgorod region and killing 74 people on board, including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers who were to be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war.

Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate, told an official organization dealing with the treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war that Kyiv does not yet have "complete and reliable information" about who was on board.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the Russian military plane that crashed far from the border with Ukraine was shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

Ukraine Invites Chinese Leader Xi Jinping to 'Peace Summit’

Ukraine has invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to participate in the planned "peace summit" of world leaders in Switzerland, a high-ranking diplomatic adviser to the president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said, Reuters reported.

China has close ties to Russia and has refrained from criticizing the invasion of Ukraine, but has also said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and has offered to help mediate the conflict.

"We definitely invite China to participate in the summit, at the highest level, at the level of the president of the People's Republic of China," adviser Igor Zhovkva told Reuters in an interview this week.

"China's participation will be very important for us. We are working with the Chinese side. We are involving our partners around the world so that they convey to the Chinese side how important it is to participate in such a summit."

Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an "unlimited" partnership in Beijing just three weeks before Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Reuters recalls. Since then, China has dramatically increased its imports of Russian energy.

Putin claims the invasion was necessary to protect Russia's security, while Kyiv and the West say it was an unprovoked war of aggression and a land grab.

Neutral Switzerland has agreed to host the Ukraine peace summit at Zelensky's request, but a date for the forum has not yet been set.

Zhovkva also said that the national security advisers of 82 countries took part in talks this month in the Swiss resort of Davos, which were devoted to Ukraine's 10-point peace plan.

Russia has not been invited to the planned summit and has previously said Ukraine's 10-point plan would not go ahead. This plan calls for the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, the withdrawal of all Russian troops, the protection of food and energy supplies, nuclear safety, and the release of all prisoners of war.

"We will talk about a certain road map (at the summit), about the implementation of this formula (for peace)," Zhovkva said.

Ukraine is trying to retain international support amid signs of war fatigue among its Western allies after Kyiv’s counteroffensive last year failed to lead to a breakthrough on the battlefield.

Zhovkva welcomed the participation of many countries from the Global South in the Davos talks, saying that Ukraine hopes to maintain this level at the summit as well.

Last year, Beijing presented its own 12-point plan for peace in Ukraine, which includes declaring a ceasefire but does not foresee Russia withdrawing from any of the territories it has seized.

Novinite remains the sole Bulgarian media outlet consistently delivering daily updates and key insights concerning the conflict. Our reporting commenced on the first day, 24th February 2022, and will persist until the conflict's resolution. Despite challenges, our independent journalism remains committed to offering precise, current news to our audience. We appreciate your ongoing support in staying informed! #stayinformed #WarInUkraine

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