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Ukraine likely shot down Russian Il-76 with Patriot SAM – report

Photos allegedly from the crash site of the IL-76 in the Belgorod region, published by Russia
Photos allegedly from the crash site of the IL-76 in the Belgorod region, published by Russia

Ukraine may have shot down Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft over Belgorod Oblast using a U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system in late January, The New York Times reported on Feb. 8.

Read also: NATO to supply more ammunition for Patriot air defense system

The newspaper cites U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Sources told NYT the reports of the Patriot missile being used are accurate. The Times also mentioned, referencing unnamed "informed" U.S. officials, that Ukraine received this particular Patriot system from a "European partner."

The article pointed out that the identity of those on board the aircraft is unclear. U.S. officials who spoke with journalists noted that "some of the passengers" could have been Ukrainian POWs but both Ukrainian and U.S. officials believe Russia is inflating the death toll.

Read also: Video of the downing of the Russian Il-76 military transport plane in Belgorod Oblast appears online

Western officials said the plane was previously used for transporting missiles, making it a valuable military target for Kyiv.

Read also: Putin lies about IL-76 aircraft — HUR

The journalists added that U.S. officials believe Ukraine should continue developing innovative ways to strike Russia. The newspaper highlighted that the U.S. has not criticized Ukraine for using the Patriot system to hit Russian aircraft and that "this is the kind of innovation Ukraine will need to embrace."

Read also: US warns of limited supply of Patriot missiles to Ukraine — NYT

The newspaper also noted that the Patriot was initially developed to counter aircraft but was later modified to shoot down tactical ballistic missiles. Ukraine first developed a plan to use the Patriot against Russian aviation in the spring of 2023, specifically to try to slow down Russian air bombardments.

"Ukrainians have taken the Patriot back to its origins as an antiaircraft weapon," the article states.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine