Putin points finger at US and France over shooting down of Russian jet

The plane was shot down over Belgorod on Wednesday (Picture: AP)

Russia has claimed the missile used to shoot down a military plane allegedly carrying 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers were American or French.

President Vladimir Putin said a Russian military plane that crashed in Belgorod near the border with Ukraine on Wednesday was shot down by Ukrainian air defences.

They have claimed all 74 people on board were killed, including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers set to be swapped for Russian prisoners.

Ukraine has not confirmed or denied whether it shot down the plane and has challenged Moscow’s account.

Putin said the results of Russia’s investigation would be published in two to three days, but preliminary results suggested the missiles that downed the plane were American or French.

A video posted to Telegram shows the plane crashing in the Korochansky District, but footage later shared on the messaging app sparked suspicion that there were no soldiers on board, contrary to what the Kremlin claims.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said: ‘For its part, Ukraine has fulfilled all agreements for the proper preparation of the exchange. The Russian captured servicemen were delivered on time to the designated place for exchange, where they were kept safe.

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‘According to the agreements, the Russian side had to ensure the safety of our defenders. At the same time, the Ukrainian side was not informed about the need to ensure the safety of the airspace in the area of ​​the city of Belgorod in a certain period of time, as was repeatedly done in the past.

‘This may indicate deliberate actions by Russia aimed at creating a threat to the life and safety of prisoners.’

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported the plane was transporting captured Ukrainian soldiers for a prisoner exchange.

They added six crew members and three escorts were also onboard.

‘On January 24, at about 11.00 Moscow time, a Il-76 plane crashed during a scheduled flight in the Belgorod region,’ the Ministry of Defence said, according to Interfax news agency.

‘On board there were 65 captured military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine transported to the Belgorod region for exchange, six crew members of the aircraft and three accompanying persons.’

This is a developing news story, more to follow soon… Check back shortly for further updates.

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