Vice-President of the Israeli "EL-AL" airline Yitzhak Amitai confirmed to the RIA Novosti correspondent that while flying over Ukraine on Thursday night the pilot of the airline's aircraft noticed a bright flash of unknown origin at a certain distance from the aircraft.
According to one of the versions, it might have been an explosion of a "surface-to-air" missile.
The EL-AL vice-president also pointed out that in the past the pilot who noticed the flash served in Israeli combat aviation and the flash reminded him of a missile explosion. But, according to Yitzhak Amitai, it was premature to ascertain presently what type of a flash it was.
Moreover the flash, according to the statement of the vice-president of EL-Al, took place rather far away from the aircraft and presented no threat to it. The pilot found it difficult to determine the distance as everything happened when it was dark already.
The Boeing-757 was performing flight #615 from Tel Aviv to Moscow. According to the Israeli radio report, the incident occurred approximately at 23.30 Moscow time at the moment when the aircraft was to the south from Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine).
In accordance with the regulations, the Israeli pilot immediately notified ground air traffic control services of the incident. Later the aircraft successfully landed in a Moscow airport.
Meanwhile the Israeli radio reports that on the request of Israelis the circumstances of the incident with the EL-AL aircraft over the territory of Ukraine will be examined by Americans.
Israeli authorities filed such a request with the US leadership taking into account that Americans possessed necessary means including intelligence satellites to exactly determine what happened in the skies over Ukraine.
On Friday Ukrainian Defense minister Vladimir Shkidchenko reported to journalists that a working group of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry was established to investigate the incident with the Israeli aircraft.
He refuted reports of the alleged explosion of an Ukrainian missile in the vicinity of the Israeli aircraft. The minister stated that "this year no missiles were launched from the Ukrainian territory." In accordance with the instructions of Leonid Kuchma, Ukrainian President and commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, beginning from October 4, 2001 exercises with launches of combat missiles were forbidden in the territory of the country. Kuchma took that decision after an Ukrainian missile in 2001 downed a Russian TU-154 aircraft with Israeli citizens on board.
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