NewsPutin blames Ukraine and US for downing Il-76, amidst claims of information war

Putin blames Ukraine and US for downing Il‑76, amidst claims of information war

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

12:32 PM EST, January 31, 2024, updated: 4:35 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Many pieces of information provided by Russian and Belarusian media or authority representatives are elements of propaganda. These reports are part of the information war led by the Russian Federation.

- "The plane was shot down, it has been determined, by the American Patriot system, used from territory controlled by Ukrainian forces," claimed Putin.

- "The fact that they shot down a plane carrying their soldiers suggests that it was an accident. But it's still a crime," added the Russian leader.

Putin stated that he does not intend to halt the exchange of prisoners. He contended that the ratio of Russian to Ukrainian prisoners is "one to ten".

- "We have thousands, they have dozens, maybe hundreds. But even so, we will get our people back if the Ukrainian side is ready," Putin said.

Zelensky calls for an international investigation

As AFP notes, Moscow claims that there were 74 people on board the Il-76, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, planned for exchange. However, the Russian authorities have not provided evidence to confirm that Ukrainians were on this plane and that Kyiv, as the Kremlin alleges, knew about it.

Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied that it shot down the plane and has expressed doubts about the presence of its soldiers on board. Kyiv authorities have confirmed, however, that an exchange of prisoners was scheduled on the day of the disaster, but it ultimately did not occur.

Following the crash, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an international investigation. Putin echoed this call on Wednesday but claimed that "no international organizations would take on this task."

On Wednesday, Moscow and Kyiv announced that they had exchanged prisoners of war. Zelenski reported the return of another 207 Ukrainian citizens from Russian captivity.

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