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Russian television is mourning nine of its own – reporters and TV crew members from three different channels were on board the military plane that crashed early on Sunday en route to Syria.

Among those killed after take-off from Sochi were sound engineer Evgeny Tolstov and cameraman Oleg Pestov, who worked together.


A final photo of the aircraft was posted online by Tolstov. Showing the doomed aircraft on the tarmac in Moscow, where the flight originated, the image appeared on Facebook – with the caption “Travelling to Latakia”.

NTV cameraman Cyril Yanchenko, a colleague of award-winning Pestov, said: “I knew him for 15 years. Lately, we worked with the same equipment so I can say we looked at the world through the same camera lens. In recent years, if any turmoil happened somewhere, he was always there, always at the front line. He was a man who could not say ‘no’ – a man of the highest professional duty.”

The TV men killed were from three Russian TV stations – Channel One, NTV and the Defence Ministry’s media outlet, Zvezda TV.

Channel One correspondent Dmitry Runkov would have soon celebrated his 30th birthday.

Alexandrov Ensemble Choir
64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble Choir were also killed in the crash.
The Alexandrov Ensemble Choir is the official choir of the Russian armed forces and one of the two choirs that can carry the title Red Army Choir. It has a repertoire of over 2,000 songs and is well-embedded in Russia’s rich cultural heritage. Until now, the choir was composed of 186 people.

The good news is that Vadim Ananiev, one of the choir’s lead singers, did not board the plane, as his wife just recently gave birth to their child. He briefly addressed the media yesterday afternoon:


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