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Kremlin Denies Ukraine Requested POW Bodies From Plane Crash

The crash site of the Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft. Russian Investigative Committee

The Kremlin on Friday denied claims by Kyiv that it had ignored requests to return the remains of Ukrainian prisoners of war who allegedly died in a military plane crash last week.

“The administration did not [receive Kyiv’s request],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence service spokesman Andriy Yusov said Thursday that Russia was ignoring Kyiv’s request to repatriate the bodies.

Moscow accuses Kyiv of using a U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air missile system to shoot down a Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft that crashed near the border with Ukraine on Jan. 24.

Russia claims 65 Ukrainian servicemen en route for a scheduled prisoner exchange were killed alongside nine Russian crew members and military police officers.

Yusov said the prisoners of war that Moscow claims to have been on board the plane would still be considered captive until their deaths were confirmed.

He added that the 65 Ukrainian servicemen were not among those who were exchanged earlier this week after the Il-76 crash.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said Thursday that genetic tests of the 670 body parts recovered from the crash site had “unambiguously” confirmed the 65 soldiers’ identities.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify those claims.

Ukraine has not confirmed or denied its involvement in the crash.

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