Kiev court rejects lawsuit on compensation for passenger plane shot down

A court in Kiev on Tuesday turned down a compensation lawsuit initiated by a Russian air carrier against the Ukrainian Defense Ministry over a decade-old incident in which a civilian plane was downed by a missile.

In 2004, Russia’s Siberia Airlines (S7) filed a lawsuit at a Kiev court seeking more than $15.3 million in compensation for the loss of a Tu-154 passenger jet which fell in Ukraine, killing 66 passengers and 12 crew members.

“We won the case. The lawsuit was rejected in full,” a Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said.

“Naturally, we will appeal this ruling,” said Alexandra Pavlenko, an S7 lawyer. “We are going to take a tougher public stance.”

The plane blew up in midair on October 4, 2001, en route from Tel Aviv. The Gelendzhik radar complex on Russia’s Black Sea coast detected an airborne object some 50 kilometers from the plane 30 seconds before the aircraft exploded.

The Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee, a civil aviation authority within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), ruled that the crash was caused by an accidental Ukrainian S-200 missile strike during military training exercises.

A Kiev forensics institute said earlier this year that its forensic reexamination showed that the obsolete surface-to-air missile was unable to cover the distance in the recorded time.

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