Moscow: A week after a Russian military transport plane with 74 onboard including 65 Ukrainian Prisoners of War was crashed, Russian investigators on Thursday claimed it gathered evidence which could establish that US-made Patriot surface-to-air missiles shot the plane down. Russia has repeatedly said that Ukraine downed the Ilyushin Il-76 plane on January 24, killing 74 people on board, including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers who Moscow said were en route to be swapped for Russian prisoners of war.
Kyiv, which is fighting Russian forces in Ukraine, has neither confirmed nor denied that it downed the plane, but has challenged details of Moscow’s account and called for an international investigation. Russia’s Investigative Committee said Ukrainian soldiers in the area of Lyptsi in the Kharkiv region had fired two missiles at the plane.
“The following markings were found on the seized fragments: ‘ASSY 11455748’, ‘SN740179’, ‘ASSY 11461343’, ‘SN740206’, ‘ASSY 11461865’, ‘SN740207’, ‘Raytheon’, ‘CONFIDENTIAL classified by PATRIOT SECURITY CLASSIFICATION GUIDE DATED: 9/22/83 ADDENDUM DATED 11/28/83 8/8/84 CONTRACT NO/DAAH01-86C-A018’,” the committee said in a statement.
Russia’s big claim against US
It published a short video showing investigators inspecting missile fragments on the ground in an unspecified location. “The fragments seized from the scene, according to their design features, geometric characteristics and available markings, are structural elements of the MIM-104A anti-aircraft guided missile of the Patriot complex of the United States, developed by Raytheon and Hughes corporations and manufactured by Raytheon,” the Committee said.
Ukraine did not immediately comment on the assertions by Russia’s Investigative Committee.
Earlier last week, Russia accused Ukraine of deliberately shooting down a Russian military transport plane carrying 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers.
(With inputs from Reuters)
A view shows what the Russian Investigative Committee says is a fragment of a missile that was used to shoot down the Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane, at the crash site near the village of Yablonovo in the Belgorod reg