Kiev court hears plane crash lawsuits

On Tuesday in Kiev, the Pechera district court will hear two lawsuits filed by relatives of the people killed in the 2001 crash of a Tu-154 passenger aircraft over the Black Sea.

The court will continue hearing the lawsuit filed by the widow of Boris Levchugov, the co-pilot of the Tu-154, and the lawsuit filed by 15 relatives of the crewmen killed in the crash, a representative of the Vitaly Vakulenko law office said.

The claimants seek moral damages of $1 million for every person killed and material damages of several million hrivnias for the loss of breadwinners from the Ukrainian government, the Defence Ministry and the Treasury.

The Sibir Air Tu-154 airliner was shot down enroute from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk on October 4, 2001 by a Ukrainian missile launched in the course of an exercise of the air-defense forces in the Crimea.

The Ukraine's state interdepartmental commission and the commission of the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee acknowledged that the missile caused the crash. However, the defendants disagree with these conclusions and refuse to satisfy the plaintiffs' demands.

On March 26, former Deputy Prosecutor-General and chief of the Main Directorate of Military Prosecutor's Offices of Ukraine Alexander Atamanyuk said, a Ukrainian missile unintentionally hit the Russian Tu-154 during a military exercise. This remains the principal version of the story.

The Ukraine proposed a $100,000 per person killed settlement, the plaintiffs' lawyers said.

Talks between Ukraine, Russia and Israel about potential compensation are going on. During the fourth round of Ukrainian-Israeli talks in Kiev on November 12-13, both parties came to an agreement about compensation payments. Consequently, an inter-government agreement on settling the issue will be drafted before the end of this year.

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