Ukraine admits its missile downed Russian airliner : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Published: Sunday, October 14, 2001

Ukraine admits its missile downed Russian airliner BY MICHAEL WINES New York Times

MOSCOW -- In strained language that acknowledged only a "tragic coincidence," Ukraine's president, Leonid Kuchma, said Saturday that he accepted investigators' preliminary finding that his military accidentally destroyed a Russian airliner over the Black Sea last week with an errant missile. Kuchma's written statement, released Saturday night, did not explicitly state that the military was at fault.

"Obviously, final results of the commission's inquiry will be known after experts complete their in-depth investigation and make appropriate assessments public," he said. "But even today it can be said that a big tragedy took place."

Earlier Saturday, Ukraine's military had taken responsibility after nine days of increasingly vaporous denials.

Seventy-eight people, most of them Russian emigres to Israel, died when the Siberian Airlines flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk, Russia, exploded and plunged 35,000 feet into the sea off the Russian coast. Four minutes earlier, a Ukrainian air defense exercise fired two long-range anti-aircraft missiles at a drone off the Black Sea's Crimean coast.

Russian investigators concluded Friday that one of the missiles, an S-300, struck the drone, but that the second, an S-200, flew 150 more miles and unleashed a warhead of shrapnel balls at the airliner.

A recorded radio transmission released late this week showed the pilot of the plane, a Tupolev Tu-154, crying, "Where are we hit?" as the aircraft began its plunge.

On Saturday, the commander of Ukraine's air defense forces, Volodimir Tkachov, and his deputy turned in their resignations at a news conference and apologized to the families of the victims and the government of Ukraine "for this accident horrible by its consequences."

The conference in Kiev, the capital, was interrupted when Defense Minister Alexander Kuzmuk burst into the room and proclaimed that he "could not hide behind the backs of my subordinates."

"We gained people's trust grain by grain, and now everything has to be started from scratch," he said. "We did not want to deceive anybody."

Experts say that the radar-guided S-200, among the farthest-flying and most capable anti-aircraft missile in the arsenal of former Soviet nations, simply locked onto the Russian airliner after it raced past the destroyed drone some 20 miles off the Crimean coast.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 15, 2001


Could the Government of the Ukraine have been forced by Russia to take blame for this tragedy to prevent the real killers from being exposed and Israel having to relaliate at this critical time in the Afganistan campaign? Think about it. The Ukrainian military has consistantly denied this charge since the incident occurred. They get their armes from Russia.

-- Gail Vass (, October 15, 2001.

I could believe it if I hadn't passed through Ben Gurion airport so many times. It seems to me more than a little unlikely that anyone got enough explosives on that plane to blow it out of the sky. The Ukraians were firing missiles into the sky over the black sea that day. The US responded without any thought needed that it was shot down. They would have been monitoring the tests very closely

-- phil chapman (, October 15, 2001.

And Israel's enemies don't have missiles? Initial reports did say that the passenger airliner was flying off course when it was hit. My thought when I first read that was, "I wonder who was at the controls of that plane if it was where it wasn't supposed to be". The assigned flight path was shown in a diagram in the NY Times. The plane flew into air space declared by the Ukarian military for their war games. I guess after what happened to our 4 planes I was looking at this story with great interest.

-- Gail Vass (, October 15, 2001.

Ukraine Says Radar Evidence Shows Missile Didn't Hit Russian Passenger Jet Kiev, Ukraine: Ukraine's Defense Ministry released radar evidence it said showed its missiles didn't shoot down a Russian passenger airliner that exploded over the Black Sea last week, Interfax-Ukraine news agency said.

The evidence concentrated on an S200 missile fired three minutes before the Sibir Airlines Tupelov 154, flying from Tel Aviv in Israel to the Russian city of Novosibirsk, crashed over the Black Sea on Thursday killing all 78 people onboard. The S200 didn't hit its unmanned target though radar evidence showed it ``ceased to exist'' 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the firing place, Ukraine's anti-aircraft commander-in-chief Volodymyr Tkachev was quoted as saying. The firing place at Cape Opuk in the Crimea region was about 270 kilometers from the plane when the S200 was fired, he said. The evidence was presented to reporters in Kiev after a Ukrainian military team joined Russian and Israeli investigators in the Black Sea city of Sochi yesterday.

(c) 2001 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved.

.............Inconsistencies and Contradictions get my attention.................. ===============

-- Gail Vass (, October 15, 2001.

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