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    Chinese Leader Extends Condolences to Putin Over Tu-154 Plane Crash in Black Sea

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    According to media reports, Chinese leader expressed Monday his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the crash of the Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 aircraft.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed Monday his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the crash of the Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 aircraft in the Black Sea, local media reported.

    "On behalf of the Chinese government I express deep sympathy in the wake of this tragic event. I extend deepest condolences to the families affected," Xi said in a message to Putin, as quoted by the China Central Television (CCTV).

    Early on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 plane heading from Moscow to Syria with 92 people on board, including the Alexandrov Ensemble members, and nine journalists, disappeared from radar shortly after refueling and take-off from the Russian southern city of Adler, near Sochi. Fragments of the plane were discovered 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the sea shore of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters (164-184 feet).

    Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the catastrophe. A special services source told RIA Novosti that a terrorist attack is not being considered as the main cause of the crash.

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