Russian Source Claims Putin was Intended Target in Plane Disaster
- The Moscow Times
- Jul. 18 2014 00:00
In the immediate aftermath of the Malaysian Airlines plane crash on Thursday, some Russian news outlets are reporting the Boeing 777's attackers had in fact intended to target a plane transporting President Vladimir Putin.
A Malaysia Airlines plane crashed into Ukraine's restive Donetsk region on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.
As each side of the Ukraine conflict rushed to accuse the other, an unnamed source from the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, or Rosaviatsia, chimed in, telling Interfax that Ukrainian forces had attempted to shoot down Putin's airplane, which was en route to Moscow from Brazil at the time.
The source claimed that Putin's plane had intersected the Malaysian plane's flight path at 10,000 meters as the latter traveled from Amsterdam toward Kuala Lumpur.
"The presidential aircraft was there at 16:21 Moscow time, the Malaysian one at 15:44," the source told Interfax.
Putin uses an Ilyushin Il-96-300 wide-body airliner, the size and proportions of which are similar to those of the downed Boeing 777.
"As for the coloring, at a remote distance they are almost identical," the source said.
A separate source told Gazeta.ru news portal, however, that Putin had avoided Ukrainian airspace in light of the conflict.
Rosaviatsia head Alexander Naradko told Interfax that the agency does not comment on or disclose the flight paths taken by the presidential plane.