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Kremlin certain those responsible for Russian Su-24 pilot murder in Syria will be punished

April 01, 2016, 13:42 UTC+3

Turkish media reported on Thursday that a person who confessed to the pilot’s murder was detained at a restaurant in Izmir together with 13 more suspects

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© Alexandr Ryumin/TASS

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that those responsible for the murder in Syria of the Russian pilot of the Sukhoi Su-24 bomber that was downed by Turkey’s Air Force last November will get the punishment they deserve. "Surely they will," he said, answering a corresponding question.

Peskov said that to assess the situation with the detention in Turkey of a man who confessed to the pilot’s murder, it is necessary to understand what charges will be pressed against him specifically and how the Turkish prosecutors will interpret his actions. "We don’t known this so far," the Kremlin official said. He added that only court can recognize anybody guilty of a crime and so declined to make conclusions. "I just cannot make any conclusions as this would be wrong," he said.

Turkish media reported on Thursday that a person named Alparslan Celik was detained at a restaurant in Izmir together with 13 more suspects. These people have allegedly recently arrived from Syria where they fought in the Bayirbucak region on the side of Islamists. The detention was made after somebody reported to the police that these people gathered at the restaurant. The policemen seized from them an assault rifle and two pistols with cartridges. Reportedly, Alparslan Celik is now in custody of the security department of the Turkish city of Izmir.

The Turkish Air Force downed a Sukhoi Su-24 bomber of Russia’s Aerospace Forces on November 24, 2015 by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet when the Russian plane was at an altitude of 6,000 meters 1 kilometer from Turkey’s border. Later the Russian Defense Ministry specified that the Su-24 was downed when it was returning to the Khmeimim airbase in Syria.

"Objective control data analysis unambiguously showed that there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace," the ministry said. However, Turkey’s General Staff claimed that the Turkish fighter jet shot down a plane that violated the country’s airspace. A statement circulated by the Turkish military says the plane’s crew received 10 warnings for five minutes.

The crew managed to eject, but one of the two pilots of the bomber was killed by fire opened from the ground. The second pilot was rescued and evacuated to the base.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Turkish Air Force attack against the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 plane, which took part in Russia’s antiterrorism operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey, "a stab in Russia’s back" delivered by terrorists’ accomplices.

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