MOSCOW — Russia on Monday played down the likelihood that terrorism was behind the crash of a Soviet-era military jet that killed 92 people on Christmas Day, a disaster that prompted a national day of mourning and that has drawn added scrutiny as Russia’s role in the war in Syria increasingly marks it as a target.
Russia’s Federal Security Service told the Interfax news agency that there has been no evidence “indicating the possibility of a terrorist attack or an act of sabotage on board” the Tu-154 jet, which lost contact with air traffic controllers Sunday just one minute after taking off from the southern Russian city of Sochi.
The crash site was pinpointed Monday about a mile off the Black Sea coast, where divers found the fuselage and other parts of the plane strewn over a distance of about 500 yards, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. The plane initially took off from a heavily guarded military airfield in Moscow, officials said, and was under close watch during refueling in Sochi, making it unlikely that someone placed a bomb onboard.
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