Some 1.5 kilometres (one mile) from the airport, air traffic controllers noticed the Tupolev -- overhauled in December 2009, according to manufacturers Aviakor -- was below its appropriate glide path, Alyoshin said.
"The head of the (air traffic control) group ordered the crew to return to horizontal flight, and when the crew did not fulfil the instruction, ordered them several times to land at another airport," he said.
"Nonetheless the crew continued to descend. Unfortunately this ended tragically."
Two things happened. Either the info on the glide path from ATC was never recieved by the pilots or it was relayed too late.
In either case it will never be proven that there was an intent on the part of the ATC to not properly notify the aircraft..
I do find it odd that the plane was hitting tree tops that stood 8 meters tall 1200 meters out from the runway.
ATC stated 1.5 km out they notified the plane its glide slope was off.
Now when you take the time to being notified your glide path is off at 1.5 km to 1.2 km out you are hitting tree tops at 8 meters, this tells me someone in the tower was either having a few drinks of vodka or had another motive.
And that is what Putin has in mind...
This one was definately not pilot error.