Moscow Rejects Idea That Bomb Brought Down Airliner

Nov 5, 2015
Originally published on November 5, 2015 5:54 pm
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COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: And this is Corey Flintoff in Moscow, where officials are trying to play down suggestions that the MetroJet airliner was brought down by a bomb. Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, complains that the British government is not telling Russia what it knows.

MARIA ZAKHAROVA: (Through interpreter) What is shocking here is the recognition that the British government has some information that can cast light on what happened in the sky over Egypt, and no one has passed this information over to the Russian side.

FLINTOFF: The head of Russia's aviation agency said that the wreckage from the plane and even the bodies of passengers will be examined for traces of explosives. If it does turn out that the plane was downed by terrorists, the Russian public may have to face the idea that a radical Islamist group killed more than 220 innocent people in revenge for Russia's bombing campaign in Syria. Analyst Nikolay Petrov says it's not clear that would erode public support for the campaign, but...

NIKOLAY PETROV: There is already an idea there that we should think about costs and benefits of Russia's operation in Syria, and from this point of view, it's possible to speak about political damage to the Kremlin strategy.

FLINTOFF: Petrov, a political scientist at Moscow's Higher School of Economics, says if the crash was caused by a bomb, it will be impossible to keep the evidence secret. Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Moscow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.