Navigator of downed Russian jet found alive in Syria

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Russian officials said yesterday navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin, from the fighter jet shot down by a Turkish warplane on Tuesday, has been found alive. He was rescued following a twelve-hour mission to find him in Syria.

Vladimir Putin denies Russian jet was in Turkish airspace

The pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, died after being shot by rebel fighters. During the rescue attempt for Captain Murakhtin, a helicopter landed in Syria after being shot at by rebel fighters. Russian marine Alexander Pozynich died during the attack. Russia's President Vladimir Putin said Pozynich and Murakhtin will be rewarded the Order of Courage and Peshkov will receive the Hero of Russia award.

NATO supports Turkey's claim that the Russian Su-24 bomber did go into Turkish airspace before it was downed. Turkish officials said they warned the Russian pilot to leave their airspace on ten occasions before their F-16 warplane shot at it near the Turkey-Syria border Both men on board the Russian plane ejected.

However, Russian authorities deny that the Russian plane did enter Turkish airspace. President Putin insists the jet was flying over Syria when the Turkish Air Force shot at it and called the event a "stab in the back". During a television interview on Wednesday, Captain Murakhtin claimed there is "no way" the Russian bomber was flying over Turkey when the Turkish plane shot it down and that Turkey did not give a warning before shooting at the jet.

Despite President Putin's warning of "serious consequences", Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "We do not intend to go to war with Turkey." NATO has also encouraged both countries to soothe their relationship following the incident.