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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Downed Russian Pilot Says "Turkey Gave No Warning"

Capt Konstantin Murakhtin
The surviving pilot of a Russian plane shot down by Turkey on the
Syrian border has said no warning was given.
Capt Konstantin Murakhtin told Russian television there was "no way" the jet could have violated Turkish airspace, as Turkey said it did.
Russia said Capt Murakhtin was rescued in a 12-hour operation involving special forces.
Turkey insists the pilots were warned 10 times before the plane was shot down.
It is not clear what happened to the body of his co-pilot, who was killed by gunfire as he parachuted from the burning plane.
Capt Murakhtin was speaking from the Hmeymim airbase, where Russia's aircraft have been based in its Syrian campaign, and where he was taken after being rescued.

He said he knew the region he had been flying in "very well" and that the jet had not been in Turkish airspace "even for a second".
He added he wanted to go back to duty and stay at the airbase, saying "someone has to pay" for the death of the other pilot, Lt Col Oleg Peshkov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Lt Col Peshkov would be posthumously awarded the Star of the Hero of Russia.
There are also to be state awards too for Capt Murakhtin and the marine who died during his rescue, Alexander Pozynich.


Tensions have escalated between the two countries over the incident, and Russia has broken off military contacts with Turkey. The US, the EU and the UN have all appealed for calm.
President Putin has described the downing of the plane as a "stab in the back", and warned of serious consequences.
His Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the incident was a "planned provocation" but Russia did not want to wage war over the shooting, Reuters reports.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended the action, saying "everyone must respect the right of Turkey to protect its borders". He has said he does not want to escalate tensions further.
Turkey is a member of Nato. The alliance has backed Turkey's version of events, although it, too, is calling for "diplomacy and de-escalation" to resolve the situation. 
Source: BBC

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