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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS1046 2005-09-30 15:03:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
Cable title:  

SU-27 UPDATE: INVESTIGATION PROCEEDS, PILOT REMAINS

Tags:   MOPS PGOV PINS PREL RS UP LH 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 001046 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2015
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PINS PREL RS UP LH
SUBJECT: SU-27 UPDATE: INVESTIGATION PROCEEDS, PILOT REMAINS

REF: A. VILNIUS 977


B. VILNIUS 993

C. SECSTATE 176092

D. VILNIUS 1012

E. VILNIUS 1017

Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Alexander Titolo for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: GOL defense leadership told the Ambassador
September 30 that the black box data supports the conclusion
that the September 15 intrusion of a Russian Su-27 into
Lithuanian airspace and subsequent crash was accidental. GOL
leaders publicly and privately express frustration at the
lack of information and, in some cases, disinformation from
the Russian side. The Su-27 pilot remains in custody.
Defense Minister Kirkilas plans to convene a National
Security Council meeting and will propose releasing the pilot
as soon as possible after he signs a declaration, the
specifics of which are still unclear. End Summary.



2. (C) DefMin Kirkilas and MOD Undersecretary Renatas
Norkus, on the margins of the changeover ceremony of the
Baltic air policing mission from Germany to the USG, told the
Ambassador that the Ukrainian technical team assisting the
GOL in its investigation into the SU-27 incident believes
that the data support the conclusion that the airspace
intrusion was accidental. Further supporting this
conclusion, the Ukrainians told the GOL that, contrary to
some news reports, which describe Valery Troyanov as an
expert "air space intruder," the pilot is not one of Russia's
better aviators.



3. (U) GOL officials continued this week to advance
publicly the view that the crash resulted from the plane's
navigation system failure. Prominent political figures, such
as Conservative MP Rasa Jukneviciene, while not disputing the
cause of the crash, draw attention to what they see as the
poor state of the Russian military and the inherent danger of
the "militarization" of the Kaliningrad region.



4. (C) Analysis of the data continues. The crash inquiry
stalled September 28 when GOL officials suspended examination
of the black box after receiving what they described as false
information from Russia regarding the signature code of the
aircraft. GOL officials told us that they are still awaiting
responses to questions they asked the Russian government
almost two weeks ago. DefMin Kirkilas characterized Russia's
actions as "disgraceful," but downplayed the effect it would
have on the investigation.



5. (C) GOL officials told the Ambassador today that the
pilot may be released early next week, pending the decision
of the National Security Council, which will review the
status of the investigation. MOD officials informed the
Prosecutor General, who controls the pilot's fate, of the
Ukrainian team's findings in order to expedite a decision to
release him.
MULL