Zelensky says Russia is ‘playing with the lives’ of prisoners | World | News | Express.co.uk
Volodymyr Zelensky has called for an international inquiry after a plane crash in Russia
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A Russian plane was downed near Belgorod (Image: AP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia is “playing with the lives” of prisoners after 65 died in a plane crash on Wednesday.
Moscow had earlier claimed the 65 Ukrainians on board were part of a prisoner exchange. Ukraine‘s military intelligence said it had not been told to ensure a safe flight path for the plane, reports the BBC.
Addressing the nation, Zelenksy said it was “obvious that the Russians are playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners, with the feelings of their relatives and with the emotions of our society”.
A Russian plane was downed near Belgorod (Image: Getty)
Zelensky has now called for facts to “be established”. It comes after earlier reports suggested Ukraine had shot down the plane – although it said it had no reliable information suggesting who was onboard.
A video shared on social media showed the Il-76 plane going down followed by an explosion near to the village of Yablonovo, 70km (44 miles) to the north-east of the city of Belgorod. Ukrainian officials initially believed the plane was carrying missiles.
Russia‘s defence ministry said a prisoner swap was due to take place on Wednesday afternoon at a border checkpoint 100km (60 miles) to the west of Belgorod. It said the plane had taken off from Chkalovsky air base north-east of Moscow en route to Belgorod.
It claimed Ukraine‘s air force had fired two anti-aircraft missiles from the Lyptsi area south of the Ukrainian border. Andrei Kartapolov, chairman of Russia‘s parliamentary defence committee, says there can now be “no talk of prisoner exchanges.”
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Smoke cloud after a plane was downed (Image: AP)
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