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‘Turkey gave no warning’ – downed Russian pilot

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 from rebel-held territory in Syria in a 12-hour operation involving special forces.

Turkey says 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.

Russia has been carrying out air strikes against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad since late September.

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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34925229

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