KIEV, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s Supreme Commercial Court on Tuesday upheld an earlier ruling clearing the Ukrainian military of any liability for the crash of a Russian Tu-154 passenger jet in 2001, which it allegedly shot down by mistake.
The Siberia Airlines (S7) Tu-154 passenger jet went down off the coast of Ukraine on October 4, 2001, en route from Tel Aviv, killing 66 passengers and 12 crew members. The Gelendzhik radar base on Russia’s Black Sea coast detected an airborne object heading toward the plane from 50 kilometers away just 30 seconds before the aircraft exploded.
TV pictures of the aircraft’s wreckage, later recovered from the sea, showed it had been peppered with shrapnel consistent with impact of a fragmenting warhead.
The Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee, a civil aviation authority within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said the crash was caused by an accidental hit from a Ukrainian S-200 surface-to-air missile strike during military training exercises.
However, the Kiev Interregional Commercial Court of Appeal, in September 2011, rejected a compensation claim from the Russian airline against the Ukraine Defense Ministry and the Ukraine State Treasury.
In 2004, Siberia Airlines filed a lawsuit at a Kiev court seeking more than $15.3 million in compensation for the loss of the passenger jet.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office closed the criminal case into the accident in 2007, finding “no evidence of wrongdoing.”