Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that a US-made Patriot missile was used to shoot down a plane that Moscow says was carrying captured Ukrainian soldiers.

A Russian Il-76 cargo plane crashed on January 24 with Russian authorities saying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war were on board.

“The plane was shot down, it has already been established for certain, by an American Patriot system. This has already been established by forensics,” Putin said in a televised appearance on Wednesday.

There was no immediate response from Kyiv or Washington to Putin’s remarks.

In previous statements and comments, Ukrainian officials have not outright denied Russia’s version of events, but questioned whether the plane really was carrying Ukrainian POWs.

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Putin also said Russia was “insisting” on an international investigation into the downing of the plane, but said “there are no international organisations willing” to take part.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also called for an international investigation, but said it would likely be hampered as Russia has full control over access to the crash site.

Patriots are guided surface-to-air missiles that can be used to target aircraft or defensively to take out incoming missiles.

The United States agreed to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine at the end of 2022 after months of requests from Kyiv.

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“Russia is banking on Europe and the West going soft, and some in Europe are playing along,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament.
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