16:53 GMT +316 December 2019
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    The Alexandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army during the final rehearsal of the opening ceremony of the 2015 International Military Music Festival 'Spasskaya Tower' on Moscow's Red Square. (File)

    Alexandrov Ensemble's Head, 64 Members on Board of Russian Tu-154 Plane

    © Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
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    Tu-154 Crash in Black Sea (86)

    Valery Halilov, the head of the Alexandrov Ensemble, the famous army choir of the Russian armed forces, and 64 of its members were on board of the Russian Tu-154 aircraft that crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry press service said Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, a Russian Defense Ministry Tu-154 plane heading from Moscow to Syria with 92 people on board disappeared from radar shortly after refueling and take-off from the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. Fragments of the plane were discovered off the shore of Sochi. The musicians from the choir and nine journalists were on board of the aircraft that was en route to Hmeymim airbase in Syria for a New Year concert.

    The musicians from the choir and nine journalists were on board of the aircraft that was traveling from Moscow to "A list of persons on board of the aircraft includes the head [of the ensemble], Valery Mikhaylovich Halilov," the statement read.

    The list also includes Anton Gubankov, the chief of the Directorate of Culture of the Russian Defense Ministry, and prominent Russian humanitarian activist Elizaveta Glinka, the head of Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Fair Aid) charity, according to the ministry.

    Nine Russian journalists and two civil servants were also on board of the plane.

    Russia's Channel One, NTV and Zvezda broadcaster have confirmed that their journalists were among the passengers of the aircraft.

    Tu-154 Crash in Black Sea (86)


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    Tu-154, Alexandrov Ensemble, Sochi, Russia
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