Russian military plane crashes in Black Sea near Sochi

Bound for Syria, the three-engine jet was carrying 84 passengers and eight crew when it went down. Divers and other rescue workers have already been deployed to the site a mile off the coast in the Black Sea.

The military has repeatedly flown groups of Russian singers and artists to perform at Hemeimeem, which serves as the main hub for the Russian air campaign in Syria conducted since September 2015.

Earlier, Russian officials downplayed any suggestions that the crash could have been caused by terror.

The cause of the crash had yet to be determined Sunday afternoon.

An aging jetliner belonging to the Russian government crashed into the Black Sea off the country's west coast early Sunday - killing almost 100 people, including journalists and members of a prominent military choir band.

The president declared Monday a national day of mourning.

A Russian military Tu-154 plane has crashed into the Black Sea, confirmed Russia's defence ministry.

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Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Bahram Qasemi expressed sympathy with the families of the victims.

Russian federal investigators have opened a criminal case into the incident on charges of disobeying aviation rules, the Investigative Committee said in a statement on its website. The military plane had departed from the southern Russian city of Adler and was heading toward Latakia in Syria.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to head a government commission to investigate the crash.

There is no sign of survivors from Sunday's early morning airplane crash that had 92 passengers on board, majority members of the Red Army Choir, Russia's Defense Ministry said.

The airliner - believed to be carrying 92 people - left Sochi on Christmas Eve, according to Russian media.

Putin, speaking in televised remarks, announced there will be a day of mourning across Russian Federation tomorrow. Renowned Russian humanitarian and charity activist Elizaveta Glinka was also on board the doomed plane.

  • Stacy Houston