Ukraine will do everything possible to secure an international investigation into the downing of a Russian military transport plane, the country's ombudsman said on Thursday, a day after Moscow accused Kyiv of deliberately shooting it down, APA reports citing Reuters.
Russia said the Ilyushin Il-76 military plane was carrying 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers to a prisoner exchange when it was downed on Wednesday near the the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukrainian border, killing all 74 people on board.
Kyiv has challenged parts of Moscow's narrative and has not confirmed that Ukrainian prisoners were on board.
"We demand a recognised international investigation," ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets told national television, adding he would send letters to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross calling for such a probe.
"Regarding an international investigation, I believe that we will do our part to make it happen. But I am convinced that... the Russians will make loud statements but will not allow anyone in. They will not hand over any materials for analysis and will simply blame Ukraine," he said.
"According to my information, I cannot say positively that there were indeed prisoners of war. We did not see any indication that there was such a large number of people on the plane," Lubinets added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday evening that greater clarity was needed about what happened, particularly when it came to who was on board, and accused Russia of "playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners".
Russia has branded the downing of the plane a "terrorist act". On Thursday the Kremlin said nobody could say at this stage how the incident would affect future prisoner swaps.