Ukraine has accused Russia of using prisoners of war as “human shields” as the United Nations Security Council met to discuss the downing of an Il-76 transport plane earlier this week.
Khrystyna Hayovyshyn, Ukraine’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said that, if it is confirmed that POWs were on board, the incident was “the first case of Russia using a human shield in the air to cover the transportation of missiles for their further use against peaceful Ukrainian cities”.
She added: “Ukraine was not informed about the number of vehicles, roads and means of transportation of the captives. This alone may constitute intentional actions by Russia to endanger the lives and safety of the prisoners.”
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council that Ukraine made a “premeditated” decision to shoot the aircraft down with the aim of furthering “Western geopolitical interests”.
The US said Russia was ultimately responsible because it chose to invade Ukraine.
“Russia has repeatedly attempted to shift responsibility for the tragedies of this senseless war of choice, as though it is the victim and not the aggressor,” deputy envoy Robert Wood said.
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