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Ukraine: Defense Minister Resigns Over Jet Disaster

Kyiv, 24 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksander Kuzmuk has resigned, almost three weeks after his troops accidentally shot down a Russian airliner with a missile. President Leonid Kuchma said in an address on state television today that he has accepted the resignation and that he has suspended other senior military officials. Kuchma also said that all missile launches have temporarily been banned.

The plane, flying to Siberia from Israel, exploded over the Black Sea 20 days ago while Ukraine's military was carrying out live missile exercises on the Crimean peninsula. All 78 crew and passengers were killed.