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UN Debates Russian Military Plane Crash near Ukrainian Border

Russian Military

The United Nations Security Council discusses the crash of a Russian military transport plane near the Ukrainian border

After a Russian military transport plane crashed near the Russian-Ukrainian border, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting at Russia’s request on Thursday (January 25). Both sides have called for an investigation.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said the United Nations was unable to verify the circumstances surrounding the crash.

“What is clear is that this incident occurred in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war,” she said. “To avoid further escalation, we urge all parties involved to refrain from actions, statements, or accusations that could further exacerbate an already dangerous conflict.”

Moscow accused Kyiv of shooting down the plane that crashed in Belgorod Oblast on Wednesday. Russia said the plane was carrying 74 people, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were part of a prisoner exchange.

“Ukrainian prisoners of war are being transported to the Belgorod region for another exchange agreed between Moscow and Kiev,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a United Nations meeting in New York on Wednesday. “However, the Ukrainian side launched an anti-aircraft missile from the Kharkiv region. The missile hit the aircraft and was a fatal blow.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his government insisted on an international investigation to establish the facts.

Zelensky said Russia was “playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the feelings of their relatives, and the emotions of our society.”

At the Security Council, Ukraine’s envoy reiterated the Ukrainian government’s call for an international investigation, saying they were unable to gain access because the Russian Military plane crashed on Russian territory.

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“After the plane crashed, the FSB and the Russian military did not allow emergency personnel to inspect the crash site as per protocol,” said Khrystyna Hayovyshyn, Ukraine’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. “According to our military intelligence, only five bodies were sent to the local morgue in Belgorod, and no human remains were visible in the video of the crash site.”

Dmitry Polian, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, disputed this, calling it “paranoid nonsense.”

Several Security Council members warned against speculation and accusations without establishing key facts.

Video of the Russian Military crash posted on social media on Wednesday showed a plane falling from the sky before exploding into a huge fireball and hitting the ground in Russia’s snowy countryside west of Belgorod.

A video showing on “X” of Russian Military plane crash

Kharkiv Oblast borders Belgorod Oblast, a Russian territory. Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago, the two sides have conducted numerous prisoner exchanges.

Nuclear concerns

Separately, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) briefed the Security Council earlier on Thursday about the situation at Ukraine’s Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told reporters after a private meeting that he would return to Ukraine within the next 10 days before traveling to Moscow.

The nuclear power plant in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory recently lost external power for the eighth time. It has also been a frequent focus of fighting, raising fears of a nuclear accident.

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When asked by a reporter how dangerous the situation in Zaporozhye was on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most dangerous, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that situations vary every day.

Grossi said, “I think some days it will be close to 10, and some days it will seem like nothing is happening. The problem is the complete uncertainty because this is a war.”

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