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Putin Identifies U.S. Patriot Missiles in Shootdown of 65 Ukrainian POWs

Shortly after the Jan. 24 crash of a Russian military cargo plane carrying 65 Ukrainian POWs to Belgorod, for an exchange of prisoners with Ukraine, Moscow initiated an investigation team of experts. Russian radar had already pinned down the launch site of the two missiles in Ukraine, and various reports suggested German, French, or American missiles fired by Ukraine.

Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that an expert review has come to a “well-established fact” that the “plane was downed ... by a U.S.-made Patriot system.” The physical evidence apparently includes fragments of the missile along with the black boxes. TASS cites sources close to the investigation saying that an analysis of the plane’s black boxes showed that it was intentionally shot down, reports RT.

Putin has anticipated the official report of the committee, but TASS cites one source as saying that it was “highly probable” that a U.S.-supplied Patriot surface-to-air missile system was used in the attack. Putin called for others to come examine: “I state this officially: We ask for international experts to be deployed [here] to conduct an analysis, assess the existing material evidence of the fact that the plane was downed by the Patriot system.”

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