SBU releases audio recordings of conversations between Plotnitsky and his deputy about 2014 downing of IL76
Investigators from Ukraine's SBU Security Service in Dnipro have completed their pretrial investigation of a criminal case involving the head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky with two militant commanders of illegal armed formations. Audio recordings between the men have been released and shed light on the case involving the shooting down in 2014 of the IL-76 military transport plane.
"SBU investigators received unequivocal proof that LPR chief Plotnitsky, who at the time of the crime was the commander of an illegal armed formation ("Zarya"), together with A. Patrushev (Plotnitsky's deputy) and commander of the illegal armed formation "Vityaz" A. Gureev were the organizers of the criminal act [of shooting down the IL-76 military transport plane]. With the aim of preventing Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) troops from deploying, the men shot down the plane using a portable ground-to-air missile near Luhansk airport," the SBU's press service said on Monday.
The SBU's website published the audio recording conversations between Plotnitsky and Patrushev, in which the latter says, "Two planes approached the airport … one has been shot down … three rockets malfunctioned, but they shot the plane down."
The SBU also released audio recordings of a conversation between Gureev and entrepreneurs Stanislav (from Krasnodon, Luhansk region), who agreed to sell the carcass of downed plane as scrap metal.
As earlier reported, at the end of January the criminal case involving LPR head Plotnitsky and two commanders of illegal military formations implicated in the downing of the IL-76 military transport plane was sent to court.
Dnipro region representatives of Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office are seeking the conviction of Plotnitsky and the commanders of two illegal military formations for shooting down an IL-76 transport plane. The accused are charged with committing a terrorist act (Part 3 of Article 258 of Ukraine's Criminal Code), the PGO's press office said.
The tragedy occurred in June 2014 when in Luhansk region while landing at the Luhansk airport ground-to-air missiles were fired and downed a IL-76 military transport plane, killing all nine crew members and 40 soldiers aboard.