A Russian IL-76 military transport plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war was shot down by a U.S.-made Patriot missile fired by Ukrainian forces, Russian investigators said Thursday.
Russia’s State Investigative Committee said that Ukrainian forced actually fired two missiles at the aircraft, according to Reuters.
Ukrainian officials have neither confirmed nor denied that they fired at the plane, but have called for an international investigation. So, now, has Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s been definitively established that the plane was shot down by an American Patriot air defense system,” Putin claimed during a campaign event, according to The Moscow Times.
Translating his comments into English, the Times said Putin “insists” on an international investigation.
The IL-76 went down on Jan. 24, killing all 74 people on board, according to Russian sources cited by Reuters.
Of those 74, 65 were Ukrainian soldiers about to be repatriated in a prisoner exchange, Russia has claimed.
Investigators provided “footage of body parts” as evidence that some of those aboard the downed aircraft had, indeed, been Ukrainians.
Some of the body parts included tattoos that the Russians said matched those of Ukrainian soldiers. They also said they had tested some of the body parts against DNA records of Ukrainian POWs and found matches.
The Russian investigators also claimed to have found identity papers belonging to some of the Ukrainians prisoners killed.
According to a statement from the investigating committee cited by Reuters, missile fragments with English writing were found with the plane’s wreckage.
“CONFIDENTIAL classified by PATRIOT SECURITY CLASSIFICATION GUIDE DATED: 9/22/83 ADDENDUM DATED 11/28/83 8/8/84 CONTRACT NO/DAAH01-86C-A018′,” one of these fragments reportedly said.
Another fragment — one of 116 missile fragments said to have been found at the site — had the letters “ATRIOT” on it, Reuters said.
“Ukraine did not immediately comment on the statement by the investigative committee,” Reuters reported.
The Times also cited other “Russian media” as reporting that preliminary findings from an examination of the plane’s flight data recordings indicated that it had been shot down, although the examination had not yet been completed.
Putin said it was “obvious” that the plane had been downed by the Ukrainian military, according to the outlet.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.