Jan 26, 2024
By Bob Komsic
Without providing evidence, Vladimir Putin says the Russian military plane that crashed near the border with Ukraine Wednesday was shot down by Ukrainian air defences.
”I don’t know if they did it on purpose or by mistake, but it is obvious that they did it,” the Russian leader said in his first remarks on the crash.
”In any case, what happened is a crime. Either through negligence or on purpose, but in any case it is a crime.”
Putin says the plane could not have been brought down by ”friendly fire” because Russia’s air defence systems have safeguards to prevent that.
”There are ‘friend or foe’ systems there, and no matter how much the operator presses the button,” he adds ”our air defence systems would not work.”
Moscow also claims the transport plane was filled with 74 people; including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers en route to be swapped for Russian prisoners of war.
Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied whether it shot down the plane and also challenges what happened and who was on board.
Putin also says the fired missiles were most likely provided by the U.S. or France, and that this would be confirmed in the coming days.