Valeri Kamensky

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Lieutenant General Valeri Kamensky, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force and formerly Chief of Staff of the Soviet Far East Military District Air Defense Force, indicated in a recent interview that “it is still a mystery what happened to the bodies of the crew and passengers of KAL 007.”

Kamenski was directly involved in the 1983 shootdown of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on August 31, 1983.

Prior to this interview, Russian and Soviet sources had implied that there was no mystery about the fact that no bodies were found following the destruction of the plane. Various reasons had always been given for this such as the bodies being consumed by giant crabs (bones and all!), being pulverized upon crashing into the ocean (every air tragedy since then, including the space shuttle Challenger, has produced many intact bodies or body parts and tissues) or sucked out of the plane by explosive decompression).

In an article dated March 15, 2001, in the Ukrainian weekly, “Facti I Kommentari”[1], General Kamenski spoke about the mystery. To quote from the article, “It is still a mystery what happened to the bodies of the crew and passengers on the plane. According to one theory, right after the rocket’s detonation, the nose and tail section of the jumbo fell off [completely hypothetical and contradicted by the recovered Black Box tapes] and the mid fuselage became a sort of wind tunnel so the people were swept through it and scattered over the surface of the ocean. Yet in this case, some of the bodies were [ought—ed.] to have been found during the search operations in the area. The question of what actually happened to the people has not been given a distinct answer.”

Kamensky, direct superior to General Kornukov, “tactical” commander during the shootdown, may have been the one to order the jumbo jet shot down over international waters. In transcripts turned over by the Russian government to the United Nations, Gen. Kornukov is recorded as responding at 5:53am Sakhalin time “…simply destroy [it] even if it is over neutral waters? Are the orders to destroy it over neutral waters? Oh, well.”

In a more recent situation, Kamensky’s Ukrainian Air Defense Force has admitted to shooting down, over the Black Sea,in what was a missile defense exercise, the Siberian Air Tupolev 154 carrying Ukrainian and Russian Jewish immigrants to Israel with the loss of all 78 passengers and crew. The plane was on its way from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk when shot down. Kamenski had said a few months before the destruction of Siberian Air Tupolev 154. that what had happened to KAL 007 could never happen again. But it did - and on his watch.

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