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Vladimir Putin says he ordered shooting down of a plane during 2014 Olympics after bomb threat

In a two-hour documentary titled “Putin” and available on Russian social media, the president told reporter Andrey Kondrashov he received a telephone call from security officers responsible for the Sochi Olympics on February 7, 2014, shortly before the opening ceremony was due to start.

world Updated: Mar 12, 2018 19:19 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters, Moscow
Vladimir Putin,2014 Winter olympics,Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting during his visit to Samara, Russia.(AP Photo)

Russia’s Vladimir Putin in 2014 ordered a passenger aircraft which was reported to be carrying a bomb and targeting the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi to be downed, the president said in a film shown on Sunday.

In a two-hour documentary titled “Putin” and available on Russian social media, Putin told reporter Andrey Kondrashov he received a telephone call from security officers responsible for the Sochi Olympics on February 7, 2014, shortly before the opening ceremony was due to start.

“I was told: a plane en route from Ukraine to Istanbul was seized, captors demand landing in Sochi,” Putin said in the film seen by Reuters.

The pilots of a Turkish Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying from Kharkiv to Istanbul reported that one of the passengers had a bomb and the plane had to change course to Sochi, Kondrashov said in the film.

There were 110 passengers onboard, while over 40,000 people had gathered at the stadium to watch the opening ceremony, the reporter said.

Putin said he sought advice from security officers and was told the emergency plan for that type of situation called for the plane to be shot down.

“I told them: act according to the plan,” Putin said, adding that shortly afterwards he arrived at the Olympic venue with the International Olympic Committee officials.

After several minutes Putin received another call, he said, informing him that it was a false alarm - the passenger was drunk and the plane would continue its flight to Turkey.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Sunday confirmed the comments in the film.

Putin runs for the presidency next Sunday, March 18.

Key dates in the career of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The country is on a high alert ahead of the football World Cup from June 14 to July 15, with matches in a number of cities.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 08:49 IST