Kremlin says claims over cause of Egypt jet crash 'speculation'

Moscow (AFP) –


The Kremlin on Thursday dismissed any claims over the cause of the passenger jet crash in Egypt as "speculation" after Britain and the US said a bomb may have downed the plane.

"Any sort of version of what happened and the reasons for what happened can only be put forward by the investigation and we have not heard any announcements from the investigation yet," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"Any other proposed explanations seem like unverified information or some sort of speculation."

Peskov said that Moscow "cannot rule out any version" of what might have caused the crash but said no definitive explanation had been presented.

Britain and Ireland have temporarily suspended flights to and from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the plane took off from on Saturday bound for Saint Petersburg before crashing minutes later, killing all 224 people on board.

Peskov said that it was Britain's "sovereign right to fly or not fly somewhere" but said that "Russian planes are continuing to fly."

British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said that authorities had "become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device".

A US official also told AFP that the possibility that a bomb may have caused the plane crash on Saturday was "a highly possible scenario".

The Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group claims it caused the disaster.

Russia has dispatched investigators to the crash site in the restive Sinai peninsula to help the Egypt-led probe into the tragedy.

Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said Thursday that the first recording from the black box on-board data collectors had been "received" by experts, news agencies reported.

Sokolov also said that Russia had sent Egyptian aviation authorities a proposal to conduct an "additional audit" into air safety measures in the country.

Meanwhile the first funerals of those killed in the crash were taking place in Russia on Thursday, with relatives and friends gathering to mourn their loved ones.