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Confusion over Cause of Russian Airplane Crash

Posted October. 06, 2001 08:39,   


September 4. Siberian Airlines Jet Tupelov TU-154 exploded while flying over the Black Sea. The U.S. is insisting that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian missile, but both Russian and Ukrainian officials are denying the charge and expressed divergent views.

The American CBS television station reported on the 4th that intelligence-gathering satellites captured evidence of a missile fired from the Crimean peninsula shooting down the TU-154.

One high-ranking official in the U.S. Department of Defense said, ``It is clear that the TU-154 was shot down over the Black Sea by the Russian-made surface-to-air S200 long range missile during a Ukrainian military training exercise.`` The S200 which Western nations call `SA5` has a range of 300km and can hit a target over 30, 000 m away.

Vladmir Kachev, commander of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, stated, ``The TU-154 was out of missile range and the training area over the Black Sea is strictly restricted.``

Russian officials announced, ``The plane was carrying 78 people with 66 passengers. 51 passengers were Israeli nationals while 15 were Russian nationals. The 12 flight staff members were Russian nationals. The Russian rescue team has recovered the wreckage of the cockpit and 13 bodies, and will move the remains to the headquarters in the south.``

Lee Jong-Hoon taylor55@donga.com