Putin Calls Halt to Russian Flights to Egypt During Crash Probe

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President Vladimir Putin ordered a halt to flights to Egypt after a plane carrying 224 people crashed as it headed to Russia from a popular Red Sea tourist resort, killing all on board.

Putin told Russian authorities to work with Egypt on improving flight safety, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, confirming an earlier report on state-run RIA Novosti. The president acted to suspend flights on the recommendation of Federal Security Service chief Alexander Bortnikov at a meeting of his security council on Friday.

The Russian leader took the step after U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron raised concerns that terrorism may have been the cause of the Oct. 31 crash. The Metrojet Airbus A321 broke apart in midair shortly after leaving Sharm el-Sheikh for St. Petersburg. Cameron halted all regular U.K. commercial air services to the resort.

Putin also ordered his government to implement the National Anti-Terrorism Committee’s recommendations on returning Russians safely from Egypt, Peskov said. There are about 30,000 Russian tourists now in Egypt, Russian Tourist Union spokeswoman Irina Turina said by phone.

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