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    City residents attend a vigil in Sochi where a Russian Defense Ministry's TU-154 airplane crashed off the Black Sea coast

    Tu-154 Plane Crash: Sochi Locals Take It as 'Their Own Tragedy'

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    Tu-154 Crash in Black Sea (86)
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    While the Tu-154 crash site operations are being carried out non-stop around the clock, Sochi residents are already seeing Sunday's air disaster as "their own tragedy" and doing what they can to comfort the relatives of the victims. Sputnik met up with Sochi-based journalist Kirill Lemekh, who relayed the somber atmosphere of the city.

    "It is a big tragedy for the city; [many] of the people have been arriving since the early morning [at] the airport to lay down flowers as they treat it as their own tragedy, even though we can't say at the moment that there were any people from Sochi on that [specific] plane," Kirill Lemekh told Radio Sputnik.

    He further explained that the local residents are viewing all those aboard as if they'd been from Sochi too, as the plane made a stop in the resort city. Thus all of the inhabitants of Sochi see it as their tragedy, he said.

    Local residents attend a memorial event in Sochi, where a Tu-154 plane of the Russian Defense Ministry crashed into the Black Sea
    © Sputnik / Nina Zotina
    Local residents attend a memorial event in Sochi, where a Tu-154 plane of the Russian Defense Ministry crashed into the Black Sea

    Earlier on Monday, Anatoliy Pakhomov, the Mayor of Sochi, said that the local residents have offered their aid to comfort the relatives of those who were aboard the plane, who continue to arrive at the site of the crash.

    People continue to bring flowers both to the local airport and the seaport, he said at the meeting of the government commission. The politician added that 12 relatives are already in the city and are being provided with all the necessary assistance.

    "There are very many volunteers who have responded to the tragedy; very many people are asking how they [can] help," he said.
    Pakhomov further added that the city's health resorts are ready to house all the relatives who arrive at the site.

    Monday has been declared a national day of mourning in Russia following the Tu-154 crash near Sochi.  Mayor Pakhomov has decreed that all flags be flown at half-mast throughout the city.

    Prayers are being said for the victims in Russian Orthodox churches.
    © Sputnik / Sergey Pyatakov
    Prayers are being said for the victims in Russian Orthodox churches.

    Meanwhile, prayers are being said for the victims in Russian Orthodox churches.

    The Russian Defense Ministry plane crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday morning while en route from the Moscow region's Chkalovsky airport to Latakia, Syria after refueling at Adler Airport, near the Russian coastal resort of Sochi.

    The 92 people aboard the plane included musicians from the Alexandrov Ensemble, journalists, high-ranking military officials and Elizaveta Glinka, the head of a charity called "Fair Aid."

    People place a portrait of the founder of Voters' League, charity activist Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr Liza and a picture of the TU-154 airplane at the airport of the city of Sochi on December 25, 2016, after a Russian military plane which carried dozens of Red Army Choir members crashed. The Russian military
    © AFP 2018 / VASILY MAXIMOV
    People place a portrait of the founder of Voters' League, charity activist Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr Liza and a picture of the TU-154 airplane at the airport of the city of Sochi on December 25, 2016, after a Russian military plane which carried dozens of Red Army Choir members crashed. The Russian military

    Most of the passengers were traveling to Russia's Hmeymim Airbase in Syria to take part in New Year celebrations for Russian servicemen.

    A photo of Russian Army Bandmaster Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov, who died in the Russian Defense Ministry's TU-154 crash, is seen here outside the building of The Alexandrov Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Russian Army in Moscow
    © Sputnik / Vitaliy Belousov
    A photo of Russian Army Bandmaster Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov, who died in the Russian Defense Ministry's TU-154 crash, is seen here outside the building of The Alexandrov Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Russian Army in Moscow

    The plane's passenger list also included Anton Gubankov, the chief of the Directorate of Culture of the Russian Defense Ministry.

    A man outside the Ostankino TV Center lays flowers at the photos of the journalists who died in the Russian Defense Ministry's TU-154 aircraft crash off the Black Sea coast near Sochi
    © Sputnik / Maksim Blinov
    A man outside the Ostankino TV Center lays flowers at the photos of the journalists who died in the Russian Defense Ministry's TU-154 aircraft crash off the Black Sea coast near Sochi

    Journalists from the Russian television networks Channel One, NTV and Zvezda were also among the ill-fated passengers, according to the news organizations.

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    Tu-154 Crash in Black Sea (86)

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    Plane crash, Tu-154, Sochi, Russia, Adler, Black Sea
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