Russian drone attack hits Odesa

On the night of January 25, Russian forces targeted the city of Odesa with attack drones, as reported by Odesa Oblast Governor Oleh Kiper. The drone strikes resulted in two casualties, although specific details about the victims were not provided by Kiper. The attack also damaged an industrial facility and caused harm to residential buildings and civilian infrastructure in Odesa.

This incident follows a pattern of repeated drone attacks on Odesa, with the city being a frequent target for Russian forces. Governor Kiper had previously reported on the evening of January 24 that a Russian drone attack had injured two men, with one requiring hospitalization for multiple cuts. Odesa, being a strategic port city, has experienced several instances of targeted drone attacks, causing damage to both residential and industrial areas, further exacerbating the impact of the conflict in the region.

Air Force on Il-76 crash: Russia seeks to discredit Ukraine

Ukraine's Air Force Commander, Mykola Oleshchuk, has accused Russia of attempting to discredit Ukraine through the case of the crashed Russian Il-76 transport plane in Belgorod Oblast. Following the crash, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) were aboard the plane, slated for a later exchange. Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed this information and are advocating for an international investigation. Oleshchuk noted on his Telegram channel that Russia is engaging in a propaganda campaign to tarnish Ukraine's image globally and reduce international support.

Highlighting the need to counter disinformation, Oleshchuk emphasized that, regardless of such attempts, the Ukrainian Air Force will persist in defending civilians from Russian attacks. He asserted that Ukrainian forces had successfully neutralized numerous Russian aircraft, preventing them from threatening Ukrainian citizens. The General Staff had previously stated its commitment to destroying missile delivery vehicles used by Russia to target Kharkiv Oblast. While not directly addressing the Il-76 crash, this commitment underscores Ukraine's determination to protect its citizens from external threats.

In response to the situation, Ukraine's military intelligence confirmed the planned prisoner exchange on January 24 but noted that it did not occur. The claim about Ukrainian prisoners on the crashed plane is currently under verification. President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced Ukraine's intention to demand an international investigation into the plane crash, emphasizing the need for a transparent examination of the incident.

The State Border Guard Service does not rule out that the Russian Federation could use Ukrainian prisoners as a "human shield" for transporting weapons

Ukrainian intelligence is considering the possibility that Russia might use Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) as human shields to transport weapons. According to Andriy Yusov, the representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian occupiers claimed that the crashed Il-76 aircraft was only one-third loaded. During a previous prisoner exchange involving 230 Ukrainian soldiers, air transportation was used, and Russia warned that the plane would land, requesting a ceasefire. Yusov emphasized that the IL-76 plane that crashed in the Belgorod region on January 24 could have been carrying both missiles and people simultaneously, but based on Russian statements, it was allegedly only one-third full.

Yusov highlighted the need for a comprehensive investigation into the IL-76 plane crash, as various scenarios are possible, including a deliberate provocation by Russia. He did not rule out the possibility that the enemy used Ukrainian POWs as human shields for transporting weapons. Additionally, Yusov considered the chance that Russian occupiers perceived the IL-76 as a Ukrainian reconnaissance UAV and shot it down with air defense systems. The circumstances surrounding the crash require thorough examination and study.