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Top Air Defense Official Fired Over Jet's Downing

November 15, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

The chief of Ukraine's air defense forces has been fired over last month's downing of a Russian passenger plane by a missile, the press service for President Leonid D. Kuchma said.

Volodymyr Tkachov was the second top official to lose his job as a result of the accident. Three weeks ago, Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk resigned.

Kuchma introduced the new defense minister, Volodymyr Shkidchenko, to the country's top defense officials Wednesday.

The Tu-154 crashed into the Black Sea on Oct. 4, killing all 78 people on board. Russian investigators concluded that the plane was downed by a Ukrainian S-200 missile launched during military exercises on the Crimean peninsula.

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