RESCUED RUSSIAN PILOT CLAIMS TURKEY DIDN’T WARN HIM ABOUT AIRSPACE VIOLATION
Shortly after the Su-24 bomber was shot down along the border of Syria and Turkey, Russian and Turkish officials were quick to blame each other for the incident. Ankara claims that the bomber violated their airspace after multiple warnings, while Moscow has said that no such violation occurred. The pilot who survived the attack has since gone on the record to claim that Turkish officials are lying.
Captain Konstantin Murakhtin was rescued with the help of Syrian special forces after a harrowing 12 hour rescue operation, and was taken to Russia’s air base in Lakatia. He recently spoke to several Russian reporters at a press conference, and told them that he was very familiar with the area, and that “It’s impossible that we violated their airspace even for a second...We were flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters in completely clear weather, and I had total control of our flight path throughout.” He further added that he was given no warning before the attack.
“In actual fact, there were no warnings at all. Neither through the radio, nor visually, so we did not at any point adjust our course. You need to understand the difference in speed between a tactical bomber like a Su-24, and that of the F16. If they wanted to warn us, they could have sat on our wing…As it was, the missile hit the back of our plane out of nowhere. We didn’t even have time to make an evasive maneuver.”
What’s ironic about this situation, is that a Turkish jet was shot down 3 years ago by Syrian forces for violating their airspace, and Prime Minister Erdogan complained that “A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack.” Turkish aircraft have also violated Greek airspace countless times in the past. Even if Turkey’s assertions are true, they clearly can’t take the moral high ground on this one.