November 17, 2015, 11:25 am
Russian President Putin meets Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov to discuss the downing of the Russian plane on 16 Nov. 2015 [PPIO]
Russian Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov has announced that Moscow is now confident that the Russian plane crash over the Sinai in Egypt last month was “a terrorist act”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a high-level meeting on Monday night with security officials at the Kremlin following the revelations. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov were among those present at the meet.
Putin vowed that Russia will “find and punish the perpetrators”.
“We will search wherever they may be hiding. We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them,” said Putin.
Federal Security Service chief Bortnikov said investigators have found traces of foreign-made explosives amid the debris.
“We have studied the passengers’ personal belongings and luggage and fragments of the plane that crashed in Egypt on October 31. An expert examination of all these objects has found traces of foreign-made explosives. According to our experts, a self-made explosive device equivalent up to 1 kg of TNT was set off on board, which explains why the fragments of the aircraft were scattered over a large area,” Bortnikov briefed Putin.
The Russian President has ordered Russia’s aerial campaign against terrorist groups in Syria to be strengthened.
“Our aviation should not simply continue military operations in Syria, but enhance them so as to make it clear to the criminals that vengeance is inevitable,” Putin told the security officials on Monday night.
“We rely on all our friends in these efforts, including our search for and punishment of the perpetrators. We will act in compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which envisages the right of a state to self-defence,” he added.
The Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers had crashed into a mountainous area of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Saturday on Oct. 31, killing all on board.
TBP and Agencies