Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed in today on Ukraine’s downing in Belgorod of the IL-76 transport military aircraft, carrying 65 Ukrainian POWs on Jan. 24. As TASS reported, he said: “All fragments that could have caused the [fatal] destruction have been recovered from the scene. They point to the fact that the aircraft was shot down by an air-defense rocket. This incident should be either attributed to their poor [Air Defense] training or their incompetence of handling such systems. Most likely the strike was delivered by a U.S. system Patriot system but even more likely by a French-made air-defense system. A clear-cut answer to this issue will be voiced in two-three days.... The results of the investigation into the IL-76 case will be published so that the Ukrainian people know” what happened to their soldiers.
Putin, according to RIA Novosti, singled out Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) as key for discovering what had happened, reported RT: “The entire current Kiev regime is based on crimes committed daily, including against its own citizens. The [GUR] knew that we were transporting 65 military personnel there … and knowing this, they struck the plane.”