Late last night Vladimir Putin held a meeting in the Kremlin, where Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov reported on the causes of the crash of a Russian airliner over Sinai on October 31, 2015.
The meeting began with a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of the victims of a plane crash in Egypt.
Taking part in the meeting were 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.
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Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov: Mr President, 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.
We can say with confidence that this was a terrorist act.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: This is not the first time Russia experiences barbaric terrorist crime, usually without any obvious internal or external causes, the way it was with the explosion at the railway station in Volgograd at the end of 2013. We remember everything and everyone.
The murder of our people over Sinai is one of the bloodiest crimes in terms of the lives it claimed. We will not dry our tears – this will remain forever in our hearts and minds. However, this would not stop us from finding and punishing the perpetrators.
We have to do it without any period of limitation; we need to know all their names. We will search wherever they may be hiding. We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them.
In these efforts, we need to rely on people who share the moral values that lie at the basis of our policy, in this case our foreign and security policy, our counterterrorism policy.
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.
I would like to ask the Defence Ministry and the General Staff to make their proposals. I will check the progress of this work.
I would like the Russian Foreign Ministry to turn to all our partners. 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.
Whoever tries to help the perpetrators ought to know that they would bear full responsibility for any attempts to harbour them.
I would like all our special services to focus on this work.