Siberia Airlines Flight 1812

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Siberia Airlines Flight 1812
SIBIR, TU-154M, RA-85693 Athens Hellinikon Airport, 1997.jpg
RA-85693, the aircraft involved in the accident at Ellinikon International Airport in 1997
Date4 October 2001
SummaryAccidental shootdown by Ukrainian S-200 missile[1]
SiteBlack Sea
42°11′N 37°37′E / 42.183°N 37.617°E / 42.183; 37.617Coordinates: 42°11′N 37°37′E / 42.183°N 37.617°E / 42.183; 37.617
Aircraft typeTupolev Tu-154M
OperatorSiberia Airlines
Flight originBen Gurion Airport
Tel Aviv, Israel
DestinationTolmachevo Airport
Novosibirsk, Russia

Siberia Airlines Flight 1812[2] was a commercial flight shot down by the Ukrainian Air Force over the Black Sea on 4 October 2001, en route from Tel Aviv, Israel to Novosibirsk, Russia. The aircraft, a Soviet-made Tupolev Tu-154, carried 66 passengers and 12 crew members. Most of the passengers were Israelis visiting relatives in Russia. There were no survivors. The crash site is about 190 km west-southwest of the Black Sea resort of Sochi, 140 km north of the Turkish coastal town of Fatsa and 350 km south-southeast of Feodosiya in Crimea. The accident resulted from combat-missile launches during joint Ukrainian-Russian military air-defence exercises.[3] The exercises were held at the Russian-controlled training ground of the 31st Russian Black Sea Fleet Research center on Cape Opuk near the city of Kerch in Crimea. Ukraine eventually admitted that it might have caused the crash, probably by an errant S-200 missile fired by its armed forces.[4] Ukraine paid $15 million to surviving family members of the 78 victims ($200,000 per victim).[5][6]


Flight 1812 departed Tel Aviv with a destination of Novosibirsk. It proceeded at an altitude of 36,000 feet over the Black Sea when the Russian ground control center in Sochi suddenly lost contact with the airliner. Soon afterward, the pilot of an Armenian plane crossing the sea nearby reported seeing the Russian plane explode before it crashed into the sea at about 13:45 Moscow time (09:45 GMT).[2][7] Most of the passengers were Israelis visiting their relatives in Russia. No one on board survived. A national day of mourning was instituted in Israel with a moment of silence, flags at half-mast and schools teaching special lessons on the tragedy. A monument to the victims was built in Ben Shemen forest in Israel.[8]

Location of crash site; departure and destination airports
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion
Crash site
Crash site
Novosibirsk International Airport
Novosibirsk International Airport
Location of crash site; departure and destination airports

Occurring less than a month after the September 11 attacks in the United States, the crash was initially suspected by Russian officials to be an act of terrorism, and they denied American reports that it was caused by an S-200 missile.[9][10][11] Later, the Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee ruled that the crash was caused by an accidental Ukrainian S-200 missile strike during military training exercises staged off Cape Opuk in Crimea.[12][13]

Initial private assessments by American military officials determined that the crash was caused by a S-200 missile that had overshot its target drone—which had been destroyed successfully by an S-300 fired at the same time—and instead of self-destructing, locked on the passenger plane about 250 kilometres (160 mi) further away and detonated 15 metres (50 ft) over the plane.[14][15][16][17]

Russian officials dismissed the American claim as "unworthy of attention,"[16] and Russian president Vladimir Putin told the press the next day that "the weapons used in those exercises had such characteristics that make it impossible for them to reach the air corridor through which the plane was moving."[16] Ukrainian military officials initially denied that their missile had brought down the plane; they reported that the S-200 had been launched seaward and had successfully self-destructed. Defense ministry spokesman Konstantin Khivrenko noted that "neither the direction nor the range (of the missiles) correspond to the practical or theoretical point at which the plane exploded."[16][18]

However, some Ukrainian officials later admitted that their military had probably shot down the airliner. Ukrainian officials speculated that water interference caused the missile to veer off course.[19][20] Ukraine reportedly banned the testing of Buk, S-300 and similar missile systems for a period of seven years following this incident.[21][22]

On 7 October 2001, it was reported that the main fuselage of the aircraft, believed to contain the black box recorder, was thought to be at a depth of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), which was too deep for divers to retrieve.[23]

Compensation payments[edit]

Israeli citizens[edit]

On 20 November 2003, an ex gratia compensation agreement was signed between the governments of Ukraine and Israel.[5] It was later ratified by the relatives[clarification needed] of the victims. In addition to compensation issues, the agreement stated that "Ukraine is not legally responsible for the accident that occurred to the plane and free of any obligations regarding it."[24] Commenting on the agreement, Gen. Oleksandr Kuz'muk, the former minister of defense who lost his job after the accident,[25] told media that "the payments were a humane action, not the admission of guilt."[citation needed]

Russian citizens[edit]

Ukraine agreed to pay the families of each of the 38 Russian victims the sum of $200,000, the same amount that it had paid to the families of the 40 Israeli victims. The settlement was ratified by the Russian parliament in May 2004 and President Vladimir Putin signed it into law in June 2004.[6]

Additional compensation claims[edit]

Pechersk local court[edit]

Some relatives of the crash victims refused to accept the compensation offered by Ukraine.[26] They brought a civil suit against the Ukrainian government[dubious ] to Pechers'ky local court in Kyiv. During the court hearings, Ministry of Defence of Ukraine representatives stated that the airplane "could not be brought down by a Ukrainian missile" according to the forensic examination of the plane's debris, radar information and technical capabilities of the missiles. They also argued that the Soviet-made identification friend or foe system of the missile in question would have prevented it from striking the Soviet-made airliner.[24] The lawyer representing the plaintiffs argued[citation needed] that the fault of the Ukrainian government was effectively proven by the fact that it had negotiated the compensations for relatives of the Israeli victims.

Appeals in courts[edit]

On 22 August 2007, a Kyiv appeals court dismissed the victims' relatives' suit against the defence ministry, ruling that military of Ukraine bore no liability for the accident.[24][27][28] The court decision conflicts with report of the IAC group that had investigated the accident on Russia's behalf.[29]

Siberian Airlines lawsuit[edit]

Between 2003 and 2005, the Ukrainian government paid $15.6 million in compensation to the relatives of the victims. In 2004, Siberian Airlines filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine and the Ukraine State Treasury at a Kyiv court, seeking more than $15.3 million in compensation for the loss of the jet. However, in September 2011 the Kyiv Interregional Commercial Court of Appeal rejected a compensation claim from Siberian Airlines. An appeal to Kyiv's Economic Court of Appeals was rejected in May 2012. The ruling was further upheld in December 2012 by Ukraine's Supreme Commercial Court.[30][31] As of January 2013, the court proceedings continued, but they were disrupted by the Maidan protests.

Memorial services[edit]

Memorial services were held in Israel, Sochi and Novosibirsk.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev Tu-154M RA-85693 Adler, Russia [Black Sea]". Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Russian jet explodes over Black Sea". BBC. 4 October 2001.
  3. ^ Yanina Vaskovskaya (15 October 2001). "We Hit". Novaya Gazeta. Archived from the original on 8 May 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Ben Aris (13 October 2001). "Ukraine admits it shot down Russian airliner". The Telegraph.
  5. ^ a b "Israel, Ukraine sign agreement on compensation for Russian jet victims". Haaretz. AP. 20 November 2003.
  6. ^ a b "Russia agrees airliner payout". BBC. 14 June 2004.
  7. ^ "Black Sea crash wreckage located". BBC. 5 October 2001.
  8. ^ Attila Shumpleby (3 October 2002). "Rally: Change the victims of the disaster in the Black Sea".
  9. ^ Patrick Martin (6 October 2001). "More questions than answers in Siberian Airlines jet explosion". WSWS.
  10. ^ Maura Reynolds (6 October 2001). "Clues, Remains Sought in Siberian Airlines Crash". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ "Ukrainians Shift Stance on the Cause of Air Crash".
  12. ^ Cogan Schneier (17 July 2014). "History shows passenger plane shootdowns often mistakes". USA Today.
  13. ^ "Kyiv Court Dismisses Appeal Over Shot Down Tu-154".
  14. ^ Sabrina Tavernise (7 October 2001). "Ukrainians Shift Stance on the Cause of Air Crash". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "After 9 Days, Ukraine Says Its Missile Hit A Russian Jet".
  16. ^ a b c d Alan Philips and Andrew Sparrow, "Airliner blasted out of sky" Daily Telegraph (October, 2001).
  17. ^ Gieras, Jacek. "ANALYSIS OF ACCIDENTS OF THE TU-154 AIRCRAFT" (PDF). Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  18. ^ "Accidental Firing May Have Downed Russian Plane". ABC News.
  19. ^ "Ukraine admits it shot down Russian airliner". The Telegraph. 13 October 2001.
  20. ^ "Ukraine blames water for downing airliner". BBC. 2 November 2001.
  21. ^ "Ukraine Defense Chief's Report Paints Bleak Picture of Armed Forces".
  22. ^ "Ukraine's Defense Minister describes the combat readiness of the country's armed forces as unsatisfactory".
  23. ^ Gilmore, Inigi (7 October 2001). "Israel accuses Ukraine of hiding missile strike that destroyed jet". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  24. ^ a b c Российский "Ту-154" сбили не мы (in Ukrainian)
  25. ^ "Defense minister fired over plane crash". The Topeka Capital-Journal. 25 October 2001. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014.
  26. ^ Serhiy Solodky (29 October 2002). "Ministry of Foreign Affairs promises payment for the Tu-154 incident next year".
  27. ^ "Ukrainian court rules investigators failed to prove missile downed Russian passenger jet – Aug. 21, 2007". KyivPost. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  28. ^ Maria Danilova (22 August 2007). "Ukrainian Court Decides Missile Not Behind Crash". The Moscow Times.
  29. ^ "Kyiv court: Proof lacking that missile downed Russian airliner". Haaretz. AP. 22 August 2007.
  30. ^ "Ukraine Court Upholds Dismissal of Airline Shoot-Down Claim".
  31. ^ "Kyiv court rejects S7 Airlines' appeal in case on Tu-154 crash in 2001". KyivPost. Interfax-Ukraine. 29 May 2012.
  32. ^ В России и Израиле вспоминали погибших в авиакатастрофе 2001 года 4 Oct 2011

External links[edit]