MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Russia is working to trace the origin of the Western weapons Kiev used to down the Il-76 military plane carrying Ukrainian POWs over the Belgorod Region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a roundtable discussion about Ukraine with the heads of diplomatic missions.
"On January 24, the Il-76 [plane] which was carrying Ukrainian POWs for an exchange was downed with the use of Western weapons, and we are currently working to establish exactly where the weapons had been made," Russia’s top diplomat said.
According to Lavrov, Moscow will be completely transparent with its investigation. "[Vladimir] Zelensky, who they call president over there (in Ukraine — TASS) has demanded an international investigation. But where is that international investigation? We are conducting an investigation of our own and we aren’t shunning those who want to know the truth," he noted.
The Ukrainian armed forces shot down a Russian Il-76 military cargo aircraft over the borderline Belgorod Region on January 24. The aircraft was carrying captive Ukrainian military personnel who had been slated to be exchanged in a prisoner swap at the Ukraine-Russia border. The crash killed all 74 people on board, including 65 Ukrainian POWs. The Russian Defense Ministry described the incident as a terrorist attack, pointing out that Kiev had been aware of the mission to transport Ukrainian POWs for a prisoner swap set to take place at the Kolotilovka checkpoint. However, Kiev attacked the plane in order to accuse Moscow of killing Ukrainian service members, the ministry noted.