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Russian Defense Ministry hopes for unbiased international probe of bomber downing

December 14, 2015, 12:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian General Staff chief noted that the Russian military fighting against radical Islamism "got a stab in the back"
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A plaque in memory of Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber aircraft pilot Oleg Peshkov killed in Syria

A plaque in memory of Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber aircraft pilot Oleg Peshkov killed in Syria

© Sergei Lazovsky/TASS

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry hopes for an unbiased international investigation of the downing of the Su-24 bomber by the Turkish air force above Syria, General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said on Monday.

"We hope for an unbiased investigation of the circumstances of the destruction of the Russian bomber in the Syrian skies with the use of flight data recorder for the sake of objective coverage of the causes of the tragedy," Gerasimov said.

He said that the Russian military fighting against radical Islamism "got no due support from those whom we considered partners and, on the contrary, got a stab in the back."

"Mercantile interests in illegal business of some Turkish top officials became more important than lives of law-abiding citizens of Russia, France, Mali and Turkey who fell victims of ISIL terrorist attacks," Gerasimov said.

An F-16 fighter jet from the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber on November 24. Ankara claims the Su-24M bomber violated the Turkish air space in the area of the border with Syria.

However, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the Su-24M plane stayed exclusively over the Syrian territory and "there was no violation of the Turkish air space."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the attack on the bomber will have "serious consequences" for the Russian-Turkish relations. According to Putin, the Turkish Air Force’s attack on the Russian combat plane that took part in the operation against terrorists in Syria and posed no threat to Turkey is a "stab in Russia’s back."

The crew of the Su-24M bomber managed to eject but one of the pilots was killed by gunfire from the ground. The second pilot was rescued and taken to the Russian air base. The rescue operation involved two Mi-8 helicopters. One of the helicopters came under fire and made a crash landing and a contract soldier was killed. The helicopter’s other personnel were evacuated to a safe place. The Mi-8 helicopter damaged by gunfire was subsequently destroyed by mortar fire from the territory controlled by militants.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu brought the Su-24 flight data recorder to Putin in early December. The president ordered decoding the ‘black box’ only in the presence of foreign experts.

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