Russia ready to hand over crash victims' bodies to Ukraine, official says

  • World
  • Friday, 01 Mar 2024

FILE PHOTO: Investigators examine what the Russian Investigative Committee says are fragments of missiles that were used to shoot down the Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane, at the crash site near the village of Yablonovo in the Belgorod region, Russia, in this still image from video released February 1, 2024. Russian Investigative Committee/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) -Russia is ready to hand over the bodies of the victims of a January military plane crash to Ukraine, the RIA news agency cited Russian human rights official Tatyana Moskalkova as saying on Friday.

Moscow accuses Kyiv of downing the Ilyushin Il-76 plane in Russia's Belgorod region and killing 74 people on board, including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers en route to be swapped for Russian prisoners of war. It has not presented evidence.

Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied that it shot down the plane and has challenged Moscow's account of who was on board and what happened.

Moskalkova said she was in touch with Ukrainian officials regarding the matter of the bodies.

Andriy Yusov, spokesperson for Ukraine's GUR military intelligence agency, told Reuters that Ukraine had repeatedly asked for the return of the bodies, and that work continued to achieve that objective.

Ukrainian human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets reiterated Kyiv's call for a transparent investigation into the crash to be conducted with international experts allowed to access the crash site.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Sharon Singleton)

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