IL-76 aircraft in Belgorod region was shot down by US Patriot system, Putin says
Russian leader Vladimir Putin says the Il-76 military transport aircraft was shot down by a Patriot system and promises to allow international experts to investigate
He said this on January 31.
According to Putin, the examination showed that the plane was shot down by an American system, and Russia will insist on an international investigation into the incident. He also suggested that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had shot down the plane by accident or wanted to provoke Russia into retaliating.
Putin also noted that Moscow would not stop the prisoner exchanges.
"We will not stop. We need to get our guys back. We have a ratio of people in Russia to our guys in Ukraine... one to ten, even more. We will still take our guys, if the Ukrainian side is ready, of course. They constantly give us a signal that they are ready," he said.
What is known about the crash of the IL-76 in Russia
On January 24, a Russian military transport aircraft IL-76 crashed in the Belgorod region.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the ship allegedly carried Ukrainian prisoners of war who were being transported to the Belgorod region for exchange.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council because of the downing of the plane, which Moscow accused Ukraine of shooting down. France rejected the request.
The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate confirmed that a prisoner exchange was to take place on January 24. The intelligence noted that it currently does not have reliable and comprehensive information about who was on board the plane and in what quantity.
White House National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby said that the United States cannot confirm the presence of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the Russian Il-76.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he will insist on an international investigation into the downing of the IL-76 military transport aircraft in Russia.
On January 30, Ukrainian intelligence said that Russia refuses to hand over the bodies of prisoners who allegedly died in the IL-76.