TOKYO, December 26. /TASS/. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has extended his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the crash of the Russian Tu-154 plane near the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the foreign ministry reported on Monday.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also sent a message of condolences to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
A Russian defense ministry Tu-154 bound for Syria vanished from radars in the early morning on December 25 shortly after taking off from Sochi. There were 92 people on board the aircraft, including eight crew members and 84 passengers. Among them were journalists from Russia's Channel One, Zvezda and NTV networks, servicemen and musicians from the world-acclaimed Alexandrov ensemble, the official choir of the Russian armed forces, who set off to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria. The Executive Director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Russian for Fair Aid or Fair Help) charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, was also on board the flight.
The defense ministry said that fragments of the Tu-154 aircraft were found 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters. Thanks to intensive efforts by search and rescue teams, 11 bodies have been recovered so far. None of the passengers on the flight survived. According to the Federal Security Service, no evidence has been found linking the crash to terrorism.
On Monday, a day of mourning is declared in Russia.