ASTANA, December 25 (RIA Novosti) - A military plane crashed in southern Kazakhstan on Tuesday, killing all 27 people onboard, including the acting head of Kazakhstan’s border guard service, the National Security Committee said.
“Seven crew members and 20 servicemen were onboard the plane, including acting head of the border guards service Turganbek Stambekov,” the committee said in a statement.
The regional emergencies service department’s head, Valikhan Derezhepov, said the plane went off radar screens at approximately 5:00 p.m. Moscow time (1:00 p.m. GMT). A local resident called rescuers minutes after, saying he saw a plane crashing nearby.
Firefighters and rescuers were sent to the scene from the nearby city of Chimkent.
“There was no need in rescuers’ help, the plane was completely destroyed by fire. Only fragments are left,” Derezhepov said.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.