In a recent statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that a Russian military plane crashed near the Ukraine border due to Ukrainian air defenses shooting it down, either intentionally or accidentally. Putin did not provide any evidence to support this claim, which has also been made by other Russian officials since the crash occurred. The plane crash took place in Russia's Belgorod region and resulted in the death of 74 people on board, including 65 Ukrainian soldiers who were being transported for a potential prisoner exchange.
Russia's Defense Ministry has accused Ukraine of shooting down the plane, while Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied this allegation. Additionally, Ukraine has challenged Russia's account of who was on board the plane and what actually happened. Putin referred to the incident as a crime, regardless of whether it was intentional or a result of negligence.
Putin also stated that the Russian air defense systems have safeguards in place to prevent friendly fire incidents. Therefore, he argued that the plane could not have been shot down by Russian forces. He suggested that the missiles used were likely provided by the United States or France, but this claim has yet to be confirmed.
Ukraine's air force commander, Mykola Oleshchuk, dismissed Russia's claims as "rampant Russian propaganda." Ukraine also disputes Russia's assertion that they were informed in advance about the plane flying over the Belgorod region.
It is important to note that these statements are part of an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and it is crucial to await further evidence and investigations to determine the true cause of the plane crash. Both sides have presented their own narratives, and it remains to be seen which account will be supported by concrete evidence.