State Commission: Tu-154 Airplane Hit By Ukrainian Missile

Chairman of the state commission to investigate causes of the crash of the Sibir Tu-154 airliner and Secretary of the Russian Security Council Vladimir Rushailo delivered the commission's preliminary conclusions at a press conference in Sochi. The commission believes that the Tu-154 crashed as a result of the airplane being hit by the payload of a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile. The crash occurred above the Black Sea. The plane was on route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk. Mr. Rushailo stressed that the conclusions were based on a detailed study by a commission of technical experts of the Intergovernmental Aviation Committee in cooperation with experts of State Civil Aviation Service of the Russian Ministry of Transportation, research and industrial organizations, and experts of civil and military agencies of Israel and Ukraine. The experts studied fragments of the airplane, technical flight records, Rostov air traffic control center data, information of radar system readings, an audiorecording of a ground-based recorder of communications between the plane's crew and a dispatcher, and elements of the payload of a surface-to-air missile. The state commission, Mr. Rushailo stressed, agreed on the conclusions and proposals outlined in the report of the expert commission. It sent all materials to the Ukrainian side for review. Secretary of the Ukrainian Council of National Security and Defense Yevgeny Marchuk said that he agreed with the conclusions delivered by the Russian expert commission. Despite the obvious facts, earlier, the Ukrainian side persistently refuted the fact that its military exercises were held in the Black Sea area and then that a missile hit the Russian plane. The Ukrainians claimed that it was technically impossible. Mr. Marchuk said that final conclusions "would be made after a number of research undertakings has been carried out on territories of both Russia and Ukraine."

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