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Russia Urgently Requests UN Security Council Session After Plane Crash Near Ukraine

By Vusala Abbasova January 25, 2024

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Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya sits at the UN Headquarters as the United Nations Security Council assembles to vote for a rare emergency special session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Manhattan, New York City, US, February 27, 2022. / David 'Dee' Delgado / Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has declared that Russia has urgently summoned a United Nations Security Council session following a crash of a Russian military transport plane near the Russia-Ukraine border.

Lavrov characterized the incident as a “criminal” act by Ukraine and stressed the necessity for a UN meeting to demand an explanation from Ukrainian authorities regarding the circumstances surrounding the downing of the aircraft.

“We have already requested, it was about an hour and a half ago, an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council at 15:00 New York time (23:00 Moscow time),” Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying on Wednesday at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

The Russian side accused Ukraine of shooting down the plane, reportedly carrying 74 people, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war intended for a prisoner exchange. Lavrov drew attention to the conflicting statements from the Ukrainian side, highlighting the initial declarations of victory by the Ukrainian armed forces followed by attempts to offer alternative explanations once the nature of the flight became clear.

“The Ukrainian side declared another victory for the valiant armed forces of Ukraine, but as soon as it became known that it was a flight carrying prisoners of war for exchange, Ukrainian propaganda began to sweep under the carpet bravura messages about their victories,” Lavrov stated.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense released a statement on Telegram claiming that the plane was destroyed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces using an anti-aircraft missile system.

“The plane was destroyed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces from the area of Liptsy, Kharkiv Region, with an anti-aircraft missile system,” the ministry said. “The radar equipment of the Russian Aerospace Forces observed the launch of two Ukrainian missiles.”

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, in turn, blamed Russia for “playing with the lives” of Ukrainian prisoners of war and called for an international investigation into the incident.

“We need to establish all the clear facts. As much as possible, given that the downing of the plane occurred on Russian territory, which is beyond our control,” he said in a video published on social media.

While various military agencies in Kyiv confirmed the scheduled prisoner exchange, they held Russia responsible for protecting Ukrainian prisoners of war in its custody. Ukrainian authorities vowed to continue targeting Russian military facilities and planes in the Belgorod region but have not confirmed whether Ukrainian prisoners were killed in the crash or if the plane was downed by Ukrainian weapons.