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Brussels says numbers of aircraft involved in Aleppo strike 'not Belgian'

October 21, 2016, 8:41 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

The Belgian Defense Ministry says the aircraft numbers submitted by Russia’s Defense Ministry to Belgium are not correct and are not relevant to airplanes of the Belgian air forces

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© EPA/ELVIRA URQUIJO A.

BRUSSELS, October 21. /TASS/. The aircraft numbers submitted by Russia’s Defense Ministry to Belgium following the airstrike on civil infrastructure near Aleppo are not Belgian, according to the statement released by the country’s Defense Ministry.

"In the second half of the day the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation submitted to the defense attache of the Belgian embassy in Moscow the alleged proof that F-16s of Belgian air forces are responsible for the air strike in the Aleppo province in the early hours of October 18, which killed several civilians," the document says. "The identification numbers ‘friend-or-foe’ on the card assigned to Belgian airplanes according to the Russian Defense Ministry, are not correct and are not relevant to airplanes of the Belgian air forces," the statement goes. Now the country’s Defense Ministry expects "an official withdrawal of unfounded accusations by the Russian side," the document says.

On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry released and said it would turn over the material on the F-16 strike at the Hassadjek village on Aleppo’s outskirts, which killed at least six civilians, to Belgium. Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said that "military and diplomatic channels would be used to inform Belgium in detail about the Belgian F-16s operation in the skies over Syria."

According to spokesman, the Russian Defense Ministry’s report was based on objective control means. "Therefore, when Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput flatly denied - with his hand on his heart as he said that the allegations that Belgian planes were involved in delivering an airstrike on a Kurdish village, can only mean two things - either Steven Vandeput is intentionally misleading the world, or his subordinates along with US colleagues are cheating the leadership of the Kingdom of Belgium," General Konashenkov affirmed.

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