Trump calls Vladimir Putin to offer condolences for Russian plane's deadly crash

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) following their meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

US President Donald Trump called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday to offer his condolences following a deadly crash of a Russian plane. The incident left 71 people on board killed.

Russian news agencies report the Kremlin as saying that Trump and Putin got the chance to speak by phone. The news comes as workers on Monday continued to search for and gather human remains. The call was reportedly confirmed by the White House.

The An-148 aircraft was heading toward the Orenburg region when it plummeted 6,000 feet to the ground. A security camera captured the plane crash.

Putin has ordered a special commission to investigate the cause of the crash, The Telegraph reports. The activities of the airline, as well as the technical condition of the aeroplane, are being examined by Russia's investigative committee. They are also looking at the pilots' "level of professional training."

According to The Washington Post, the White House has stated that the United States is “standing by to assist Russian authorities in their investigation” of the plane crash. Trump and Putin also reportedly talked about the Mideast peace process prior to Putin’s meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow.

Aside from offering his condolences, Trump reaffirmed his belief that it is time to work toward a lasting peace agreement. Previously, the Palestinians have suggested that they no longer consider the United States an honest peace broker following Trump’s announcement of his intention to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The latest phone call between Trump and Putin followed that from December. Putin was the one who had called to reportedly thank the US leader for a CIA tip said to have helped thwart bombings in St Petersburg.

The news about the two leaders’ recent conversation comes after Trump released details for his second budget, which seeks to request funds for infrastructure, construction of a wall along the border with Mexico, and opioid treatment programs. The POTUS called it the “biggest and boldest” infrastructure plan to fix the country’s airports and road. The president has urged the Congress to pass it.

Meanwhile, Saratov Airlines said it had temporarily stopped operating its An-148 planes while the investigation is ongoing. The plane involved in the crash was built in 2010 in Voronezh, Russia. It had made 8,348 flights of its expected lifespan of 40,000.

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