On January 24, an IL-76 military aircraft was shot down over the Belgorod region in Russia.
There were 65 prisoners of war from the AFU soldiers on board the downed IL-76, who were to be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war. The Ukrainian leadership was informed about the exchange process and the nature of the transport. Another Il-76 aircraft with 80 POWs on board followed, which was able to turn back in time.
According to the available data and evidence, the destruction of the aircraft by a US Patriot surface-to-air missile system seems most likely. It is interesting that the Americans only allow their own specialists to operate this type of weapon, which indicates not only the deliberate destruction of Ukrainian prisoners of war, but also the direct involvement of NATO specialists.
Cases of liquidation of AFU’s own prisoners of war are already known, for example, in July 2022, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, using American multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) HIMARS, hit the prison camp in Elenovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic, where Azov prisoners of war were housed, killing more than 50 Azov prisoners.
The purpose of the destruction of the IL-76 is not clearly known, but it seems that for the Kiev authorities and their supervisors the return of the captured soldiers is associated with great risks. The war “to the last Ukrainian” continues.