Kyiv – A massive chase for a missile cargo flight, a game of spies, and a Russian checkmate with unparalleled cynicism: it will all happen, according to several sources I consulted. Republicbehind the Il-76 plane crash in Belgorod.
The crisis sparked by the plane crash revolves around two points: Kyiv And He flies They are holding their ground firmly: one trying to hold on as tight as he can to contain the embarrassment, the other trying to exploit the tragedy toward Ukraine's Western partners. The first point is the organization of the prisoner exchange: the military intelligence in Kiev accuses Moscow of not agreeing to the safe flight, as it has always done in the past, voluntarily putting its prisoners in danger. The Russians argue the opposite.
The second point is who or what was on board. Kiev has long claimed that it was a means of transporting missiles and components for ongoing attacks against it KharkivWhich claimed the lives of dozens of people in the past few days alone. Instead, Moscow says there will be 65 Russian prisoners to be exchanged, three escorts and six crew members.
On both points, the Russians, the only ones who could do so after blocking access to the disaster zone and allowing no international intervention or investigation, actually provided no evidence. Not even in the UN Security Council, where Ukraine is represented Christina Jayovishin He reiterated that Kiev had not been informed of the transfer, warning that if confirmed, it would be “the first evidence of the use of human shields” to cover the transfer of ammunition.
The incident will certainly put the Ukrainian president in great difficulty ZelenskyIf it is proven that she was killed by Western weapons systems, as the Russians claimed, but also unofficially, as the first Western results confirmed. If so, a humanitarian flight (prisoner exchange) would have been dropped on Russian territory and with Western aid, making it more difficult for new arms supplies to reach Kiev. A hostile front supported by weapons and munitions capable of striking Russia deeply would have a strong argument to oppose it. This means that the incident threatens to undermine the core of Ukrainian foreign policy in these two years, with President Zelensky's continued commitment to explaining to the world the reasons why full military support for Kiev is necessary.
Belgorod, the mystery of the ill-fated plane: between Moscow and Kiev, there are mutual accusations and conflicting theses without evidence.
To our correspondent Paulo Pereira
But the rebuilding that has taken hold is the result of a induced mistake on Kiev's part, over which Moscow immediately played the clown of exploitation. Russian and Ukrainian mediators worked on the exchange as always: this will be the second in a few days after a long break of five months. The formula was 192 out of 192, that is, the exchange of the largest number of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war: This was supposed to take place at the land border point in the afternoon of the 24th, but something went wrong.
Russia, having agreed to the exchange organized by the intermediaries, was almost certainly notified a quarter of an hour before the flight using established channels from which, it claims, it would also have received a message confirming receipt. But there are different forces operating in Ukraine, some of which deal with covert special operations using highly advanced and valuable weapons such as Western ground-to-air systems, theoretically intended to defend cities from Russian air attacks. These forces do not depend directly on the General Staff and do not agree with the Defense on anything specifically to protect secrecy as much as possible.
They are forces capable of deploying complex systems of hit-and-run operations: top-secret operations such as the one that was successfully completed last May, when the Ukrainians in one day shot down four Russian military aircraft in Bryansk. It was the worst day for the Russian air force since the end of World War II. It had happened on Russian soil, possibly using Western surface-to-air missiles, but no one batted an eye.
They may have repeated the operation this time by attacking one of the cargo planes that was flying in the Belgorod region, near the border and in the area from which the missiles that are fired at Kharkiv on an almost daily basis are launched. A “legitimate target,” determined by the Ukrainian services, implying that they actually shot down the IL-76. But obviously everything changes if there are actually Ukrainian prisoners on board who are ready to return home.
Here we enter the second cornerstone of this air tragedy. The Ukrainians continue to assert that if there had been proof of their presence on the ship, the Russians would not have waited a moment to provide it: names and photos of the bodies, irrefutable evidence of a massacre from which they could reap major political gains. Instead, they delivered six bodies to the Belgorod morgue, published some videos and photographs of body parts bearing Ukrainian tattoos, and allowed the publication of lists of alleged passengers containing gross errors. The presence of the 65 Ukrainian prisoners is neither clear nor proven. There may have already been weapons or ammunition on board. The Russians could have sent more flights using the “safe” air channel agreed upon for the exchange, and if the downed plane actually had weapons on board, this would explain discrepancies such as the finding of a small number of bodies and the decision to deny access to rescue services. .
Igor MosychukThe Ukrainian investigative journalist and co-founder of Ark of Azov claims that Ukrainian forces have been pursuing flights transporting Russian weapons and ammunition in the region, and that they were tipped off about the flight of the IL-76 with a payload of missiles on board. But the Russians also had a report: “Someone betrayed us and warned them that Ukrainian forces were ready to shoot down the flight. At that moment they brought our prisoners on board instead of weapons.” In any case, the Ukrainian political line is now out of the spotlight. The desire is to refer the case to the attic as quickly as possible, which remains a scandal both internationally and internally due to the controversy over the bad end of the “defenders” and the killing that in any case erases – at least for some time – the exchange of prisoners. Wednesday would have been the icing on the birthday cake for Zelensky, who canceled a series of appointments in which he would have emphasized the gift of bringing home heroes.
Now Kyiv is focusing on the contradictions. It calls for international investigations that Moscow would never allow, allowing countless theories to flourish. In this he can rely on the fact that Russia is raising the usual cloud of suspicious smoke over the whole issue, avoiding providing clear evidence and thus leaving suspicion that it has set a cynical trap for the Ukrainians: using their prisoners as human shields, and then blaming the West for the “criminal” use of its weapons. “Defensive” on Russian territory.
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