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Russian plane crashes

By Mariam Chanishvili
Thursday, December 29
On 25 December 2016, a Tupolev Tu-154 jetliner of the Russian Defence Ministry, crashed into the Black Sea shortly after taking off from Sochi International Airport, Russia, while flying to Khmeimim Air Base, Syria. All 92 passengers and crew aboard died.

There were 84 passengers and 8 crew members aboard when the plane went down shortly after taking off from Sochi, Russia, toward Syria. 64 members of a world-famous military choir were on board. They were flying to Syria in order to hold a Christmas concert. Yelizaveta Glinka, a Russian doctor renowned for her charity work was also on the plane. She was a famous humanitarian activist — she was helping children in Ukraine a lot as well as was helping some hospitals in Syria.

Immediately after the crash, the investigation was launched by the Investigative Committee of Russia. Some 3,000 people, including nearly 200 divers, as well as ships, planes, helicopters and submersibles are involved in the operation near Sochi. Some plane fragments have been found, including tail parts.

So far the bodies of 17 people were recovered from the site. Flight recorders were also found.

So-called Islamic State, one of Russia's deadliest enemies in Syria, claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner returning from Egypt just over a year ago, when 224 people were killed.

However, the Russian authorities have downplayed the possibility of a bomb this time.

"As far as we know the main theories do not involve a terrorist attack," Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said.

The plane was 33 years old. The advanced age of the plane may have been a factor of the accident suggest some people.

Zurab Abashidze, Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Relations with Russia stated that Georgia is ready to assist Russia in terms of search efforts for those killed in the TU 154 plane crash.

‘The Russian side has not addressed with such a request. Anyway, any state is obliged to provide humanitarian aid. We have the relevant experience as conducted search efforts for those missing in Kazbegi landslide,’ he has said.

26 December was declared as a national day of mourning in Russia.