MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. A rescued pilot navigator of the Russian Su-24 bomber aircraft, downed on Tuesday by a Turkish fighter jet on the border with Syria, said there was not a single possibility that his plane had violated the airspace of Turkey.
"No, this is out of the question even for a one-second possibility, as we were at the altitude of 6,000 meters and the weather was clear," the pilot said in interview with Russia’s Rossiya-1 television channel.
"All our mission flight was in my personal full control until the explosion of the missile," he said.
"There was not even a slightest threat of getting into Turkey," the pilot added.
According to the man, there were no warnings from Turkey.
"In fact there were no warnings either via radio communication or optically. There were no contacts at all. That’s why we flew heading combat course as per normal," he said.
"If they wanted to warn us they could have come out by flying on parallel courses. But this did not happen. And the missile came to our jet’ tail all of a sudden… We didn’t even see it to have time for missile evasive maneuver," the navigator said.
The navigator pilot said he will continue his tour of duty in Syria and will remain assigned to the Hmeymim airbase.
"I’m looking forward to the moment I’ll be discharged (from hospital) because I’ll step back into the ranks then," Captain Konstantin Murakhtin, the navigator, told Rossiya One TV channel on Wednesday.
"I’ll ask the commanders for permission to stay on this airbase," he said. "I have a debt to pay off on the part of my commander [who was shot dead by militants from the ground after catapulting from the jets - TASS]."
The Russian Su-24M all-weather bomber aircraft (NATO reporting name Fencer) was on anti-terrorism mission in Syria on Tuesday morning, when it was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet. Ankara claims it downed the Russian warplane after it had violated Turkey’s airspace, while the Russian Defense Ministry says the bomber was in the airspace over Syria at the time of the attack.