Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and Commander-in-Chief of Russia's Air Force Anatoly Kornukov on Friday commented on a probe into the circumstances of the Tu-154 crash over the Black Sea. Kornukov, speaking of the tragic accident with the Tu-154, noted that he was "at a command point together with Ukraine's Defence Minister Kuzmuk". Kornukov followed the Ukrainian exercises both visually and by radar. He pointed out that he had a good view of all drones and fighters in action. According to Kornukov, all information about the progress of the exercises was clear and precise. He also said that the sea and airspace were checked for any presence before the exercises. It was not until then that clearance was given for launches. The commander emphasised that he "cannot accept the version of a Ukrainian missile hitting the airliner, since this was impossible due to launch parameters". Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov in his turn noted that the state commission and the Defence Ministry are looking into absolutely all leads, including the so-called lead that the jetliner could have been shot down by Ukrainian's air defence forces. Ivanov noted that he did not call this version "so-called" for nothing. According to the minister, it was leaked by media, while the state commission and the Defence Ministry have no evidence confirming its likelihood.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign