US Patriot Missile Downed Russian Transport Plane Which Killed 74: Putin
January 31, 2024 | Tags: ZEROHEDGEUS Patriot Missile Downed Russian Transport Plane Which Killed 74: Putin
President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that a Russian investigation into the shoot down of an Il-76 military transport plane which crashed close to the Ukrainian border last week has been concluded.
He pointed the finger at Washington and its supplying advanced weapons to Kiev in the remarks by saying it was a US Patriot missile that downed the flight. "It’s been definitively established that the plane was shot down by an American Patriot air defense system," Putin said during a campaign event for his reelection.
And after Moscow has raised the issue before the United Nations Security Council, Putin said that Moscow "insists" there be an international investigation into the incident.
Shortly after it happened, merely within hours of the large transport airplane downing, the Kremlin had claimed 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war had been aboard. Thus it accused Kiev forces of killing their own. In total 74 people including crew were reported killed.
Ukrainian officials strongly hinted their forces were behind it, but stopped short of outright taking responsibility.
The Kharkiv and Belgorod regions in particular have for months witnessed a huge uptick in aggressive Ukrainian military cross-border action, which has included use of missiles, mortars, and drones.
Earlier this month, Ukraine and Russia exchanged nearly 500 prisoners, marking largest single swap since the early days of the war. This has driven speculation that the 65 POWs being transported on the downed Il-76 were possibly being prepared for another impending prisoner swap.
There have also recently been reports Western allies have secretly met with Ukraine on a peace plan with Russia as the US presidential election cycle gears up.
The Russian Investigative Committee released footage of Ukrainian prisoners of war boarding an Il-76 plane that crashed in the Belgorod region as a result of a terrorist attack. pic.twitter.com/YJx0WxZp8V— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) January 26, 2024
A number of recent major mainstream US press reports have said Putin is more "open" than ever to the prospect of winding down the war, and reaching a peaceful settlement. But this would require Ukraine to cede territory, which so far Zelensky has been steadfast in refusing to do.
Meanwhile this latest major incident shows the great powers continue inching toward direct clash, after the Ukraine conflict has already long been acknowledged as a proxy war. If it is true that a Patriot missile was used to shoot down the Russian plane, it violates Putin's previously stated 'red line' on foreign-supplied weaponry.