Moscow, November 25, 2015 (AFP) – The second pilot of the Russian plane Su-24 shot down Tuesday by Turkey was rescued after a special operation conducted jointly by the Syrian and Russian forces, announced Wednesday the Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu. “The operation was a success. The pilot was repatriated on our base “Hmeimim in Syria, said Mr Shoigu was quoted by Russian news agencies, thanking” all our men who took huge risks all night “to save the driver. According to the Russian minister, the rescue operation, conducted jointly by Russian and Syrian special forces, “lasted 12 hours” and was declared finished at 3:40 Moscow time (0:40 GMT).
The other pilot of Su-24 was killed as he descended by parachute after ejecting, announced Tuesday the Russian General Staff, adding that a soldier participating in rescue operations was killed after that Mi-8 helicopter was damaged by gunfire. Sergei Shoigu also announced on Wednesday the deployment Hmeimim air base air defense systems S-400. The Moskva cruiser of the Russian fleet, equipped with air defense systems, has meanwhile arrived near the province of Latakia, in north-western Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed the deployment of air defense systems to Hmeimin, which complements the measures announced Tuesday night by the Russian General Staff: sending the cruiser Moskva and the fact that Russian bombers will fly now under the protection of hunters . “I hope this deployment, as well as other measures taken, will be enough to ensure the safety of flights” planes of Russian army, Putin said, according to comments broadcast on television. Putin also confirmed that the second pilot had been “saved”, adding that “he and participating in rescue operations receive state honors.”
According to the Russian General Staff, the Su-24 was shot down by the Turkish army over Syrian territory without warning and it crashed four kilometers from the border, and Ankara says the Russian aircraft flying over its territory and had been warned “ten times in the space of five minutes.”
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