Russian plane shot down near Ukraine border: Putin accuses Kyiv, 74 dead including captive soldiers
"Regardless of whether it occurred due to negligence or was a deliberate action, it's a crime nonetheless," commented the leader of the aggressor state.
Moscow holds Kyiv accountable for shooting down the Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft in the Russian region of Belgorod, resulting in the death of 74 people onboard, 65 of whom were Ukrainian soldiers held captive.
Putin proposed that the fired missiles were most likely of American or French origin, but this is to be determined with certainty within two to three days.
"Russia could not have shot down the plane"
The Russian leader insisted that Russia couldn't have shot down the plane since the Russian air defense systems are designed with safeguards to avoid attacking their aircraft.
"Our 'friend or foe' systems wouldn't respond no matter how insistently the operator pushes the button," he reaffirmed.
Ukraine disputes the Kremlin's narrative
Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied shooting down the plane and has challenged Moscow's account concerning the identities of the passengers and the unfolding of the event.
Russia's claim that it had previously warned Ukraine about the overflight of a plane carrying prisoners of war in the southwestern region of Belgorod is being questioned by Ukraine. Further doubt has been cast on discrepancies in the published list of the 65 Ukrainians who were allegedly onboard the plane.