MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. The feat of Major Roman Filipov, who died in an unequal battle with terrorists in Syria after his plane had been shot down, will go down in the history of the Russian army and aviation, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces said on Monday.
"His death is a heavy loss for the Aerospace Forces. And for all for whom he was a true comrade-in-arms, instructor and an inspirational person," said Colonel General Sergey Surovikin.
The general noted that Filipov was a knowledgeable and determined class 1 strike pilot, enjoying respect of his subordinates and commanders. Surovikin expressed deep condolences to Roman’s family. "We will render all necessary assistance to you," he said.
As Russia’s Defense Ministry reported earlier, militants of the Jabhat al-Nusra extremist grouping (outlawed in Russia) shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack aircraft from a shoulder-fired air defense missile system in the western Syrian province of Idlib on Saturday. The plane was making a flight over the de-escalation zone. The pilot was able to eject but later died in a ground combat with terrorists.
"The pilot did his best to keep the plane in the air as long as he could. He managed to report to his commanders he had been attacked by a missile. Filipov ejected himself and landed near the terrorists-held village of Tell-Debes. Until the last moments of his life he fought with the terrorists with his hand weapon. Filipov blew himself up with a grenade after being heavily injured and surrounded by terrorists when the attackers were several dozen meters away," the Defense Ministry said.
The Defense Ministry described the officer as an experienced air pilot who had been to Syria on several assignments before. He had to his credit dozens of very successful combat missions to destroy terrorists and accompany humanitarian convoys of Russia’s center for the reconciliation of warring parties.
The Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria is now taking efforts jointly with the Turkish side to retrieve the body of the dead pilot. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has recommended Su-25 pilot Roman Filipov for conferring the title of the Hero of Russia on him posthumously.