Moscow received ‘certain data’ from UK on plane crash: spokesman

Published November 10th, 2015 - 05:00 GMT
Debris from the ill-fated A321 passenger jet at the site of the crash on October 31,2015. (AFP/File)
Debris from the ill-fated A321 passenger jet at the site of the crash on October 31,2015. (AFP/File)

The UK has passed “certain data” to Moscow related to the Russian plane crash over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, according to state-affiliated Russian news agency Sputnik citing Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov Monday.

"We can confirm the transfer of certain data by the British side. Naturally I cannot tell you what exactly the data is because I do not possess this information," Peskov told reporters on Nov. 9.

Peskov also said that the investigation has not reached any preliminary results.

On Oct. 31, an Airbus A321 operated by a Russian airliner crashed 23 minutes after take-off from Egypt's famed tourist hub Sharm el-Sheikh, it's debris spread across at least 13 squared kilometers in the Sinai desert, leaving all 224 passengers and crew dead.

The majority of the passengers were Russian, except for four Ukrainians, one person from Belarus and three whose nationalities are unknown.   

According to Sputnik, the first of three Russian inspection teams, German and French experts arrived Sunday to the site of the crash to continue investigating the cause of the crash.

IS (Daesh) affiliates in North Sinai claimed responsibility for the crash twice in separate statements, one of which was hours after the plane crashed, but was initially dismissed locally and internationally.

In the second statement which was an audio recording released on Wednesday, the speaker said the downing of the plane marks the one-year anniversary of pledging allegiance to Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq.

Aswat Masriya couldn't independently verify the authenticity of the recording.

Following the second statement, the UK decided to suspend all flights back and forth between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh as British Prime Minister David Cameron received intelligence information and advice regarding the possibility that a bomb had downed the plane. The UK also embarked on the evacuation of thousands of stranded British holiday makers.

The move was first described by Russia as “shocking”, as Egypt said it was “premature” in light of the fact that the investigation is as yet incomplete.

However, following a phone call with Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided on Friday to halt all flights to Egypt where, according to a statement by the British government, Cameron explained to Putin as more “information had come to light, our concerns that the plane may have been brought down by an explosive device had increased”.

States that have announced that the Russian plane crash was caused by a bomb have not shared information in detail with Egyptian security apparatuses, said Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday.

The ill-fated flight's two black boxes, a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and a Flight Data Recorder (FDR), are still being analysed by an Egypt-led international committee which announced on Saturday that it is still in “the information-gathering phase” and that all scenarios are on the table.

The incident has already taken its toll on tourism with travel agencies Thomas Cook and TUI's UK affiliate Thomson Airline canceling trips to Sharm until Nov. 12, and other countries halting flights over Sinai.

Tourism companies have also contributed to a sharp dip in Egypt's main stock market Index EGX 30 over the past two days.

The Egyptian Resorts Company is one of five companies that experienced the largest dives on Monday, retreating by 5.32 percent. Additionally, the stock of Remco for Tourism Villages Construction fell by 3.68 percent and Sharm Dreams Company for Tourism Investment dropped by 4.52 percent.

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