Saturday, March 2, 2024

Russia says Biden has made Americans complicit in Ukrainian POWs deaths

The United States and Americans are complicit in the deaths of the Ukrainian POWs who were killed last week when the Russian Il-76 military aircraft transporting them was shot down by Kiev, Moscow’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

On Thursday, Russia’s Investigative Committee released a report stating that the cargo plane was destroyed using two US-made MIM-104A missiles fired by a Patriot air-defense system. The Il-76 came down in Russia’s Belgorod Region last Wednesday. All of those on board – 65 Ukrainian POWs, three Russian troops, and six crew members – were killed.

Russian investigators stated that Ukrainian troops fired the missiles from a staging area in Kharkov Region, not far from the village of Liptsy, some 10km from the Russian border. They based their conclusion on 116 missile fragments found at the crash site bearing inscriptions in English.

Responding to the report, Zakharova said in a Telegram post that US citizens “need to know where their money is going”, arguing that President Joe Biden and his administration have made Americans “complicit in a bloody tragedy”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously also stated that the Il-76 was shot down using a US-made Patriot system, and called for an international investigation into the incident. He noted, however, that it’s unlikely that any official international organizations would be willing to conduct a probe.

Kiev, meanwhile, has refused to admit responsibility for the attack. The Ukrainian military intelligence agency, the GUR, stated that it was not informed by Moscow that the POWs, which were due to be exchanged later in the day, were being transported by air over Belgorod Region.

Moscow has insisted that Ukrainian authorities were made aware of all the details of the prisoner transfer ahead of time.

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