Cyprus Mail

Cairo and Kremlin say no evidence yet that bomb brought down Russian plane

Investigators have found no evidence so far that an explosion on board brought down a Russian passenger plane that crashed on Saturday, Egypt’s civil aviation minister said.

“The investigation team does not have yet any evidence or data confirming this hypothesis,” Hossam Kamal said in a statement, adding that Egypt adheres to international security and safety standards at all its airports.

The statement said that flights were continuing to arrive in Sharm al-Sheikh airport, with 23 set to land on Thursday from Russia, eight from Ukraine, three from Italy and two from Saudi Arabia, in addition to 22 domestic arrivals.

The Kremlin also believes that any theories about what caused a Russian plane to crash in the Sinai Peninsula killing 224 people are speculation and that only the official investigation can determine what happened, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, was reacting to an assertion from British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who said that there was a significant possibility that Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate had orchestrated a bomb attack on the Russian airliner.

“We have said this before and we will repeat it again: theories about what happened and the causes of the incident can only be pronounced by the investigation,” said Peskov, when asked about Hammond’s comments.

“So far, we have heard nothing (like this) from the investigation. Any kind of similar assumptions like this are based on information that has not been checked or are speculation.”

Peskov said Russian planes were continuing to fly to and from Sharm elSheikh Airport in Egypt, despite Ireland and Britain suspending flights. He said he hoped that anyone who had information about what really happened would pass it onto investigators.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a government meeting on Thursday he also deemed it too early to draw any conclusions about the causes of the crash. But he ordered officials to start talks with foreign aviation authorities to see if additional security measures could be taken anyway.

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