A senior Ukrainian official said on Thursday that Kiev had not seen evidence so far that the Russian military transport plane that crashed a day ago was carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war.
“We have not seen any signs that there were a large number of people on the plane, whether they were citizens of Ukraine or not.’’Human Rights Commissioner ,Dmytro Lubinets, said on Ukrainian television on Thursday.
Like President Volodymyr Zelensky, he spoke in favour of an international investigation into the incident.
Moscow claimed 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers who were due to be swapped in a prisoner exchange were among the 74 people killed when the plane was hit on Wednesday by Ukrainian missiles.
Much remained unclear about the crash that took place near Ukraine’s border.
The Ukrainian side has so far only confirmed that a planned prisoner exchange was in the works with Russia.
Kiev has not said whether its missiles downed the plane or offered an explanation for what caused it to crash.
Initial Ukrainian media reports that the aircraft had been shot down were quickly retracted.
Lubinets emphasized that, according to the terms of the Geneva Convention, Russia would bear full responsibility for the life and health of the prisoners of war.
He accused the Russian side of a targeted and long-planned campaign to defame Ukraine.