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Airline Crash Has Some Ukrainians' Sympathies with Russia

The crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt's Sinai desert has pro-Russian Ukrainians coming out of the shadows to show sympathy

This article originally appeared at TASS

Residents of Ukrainian capital Kiev and ambassadors from countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States have visited the Russian embassy there to leave sympathy notes in the Book of Condolence following Saturday's crash of the Russian airliner in Sinai, Egypt.

The book was opened as a stream of locals began arriving with flowers and candles, embassy press secretary Oleg Grishin told TASS on Monday after Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, had offered his own official condolences to Russia.

Parapets of the embassy building are laden with flowers, wreaths, toys and paper model aircraft from a flow of people not thinning even after nightfall.

One young man arriving told TASS of his surprise at seeing the offerings. "I thought I would be the one to come. But I see crowds of people, a sea of flowers, and people crying," he said. "Last year, nobody came after a Moscow metro accident. People were afraid as radicals were constantly on guard here and it was dangerous".

"I felt ashamed for my country," he added. "But at last, people have recollected that we are brothers," said the man, refusing to give his name and calling himself "just a rank-and-file Kiever".

Bunches of flowers are tied with St. George ribbons, a symbol of military glory in some countries of the former Soviet Union — a decoration of some consequence given strains in Russia-Ukraine relations.

Inscriptions alongside proclaim "Russia, we love and mourn together with you!", "Loved ones, we are with you, stand firm!", "We mourn together with Russia", "Russia, we are one people in spirit and blood!"

Kogalymavia Flight 9268 came down about half-an-hour after leaving the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The disaster site is 100 kilometres south of the administrative centre of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish. All 224 aboard the plane perished.

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