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Moscow supports Ukrainian pilot who made blind landing of damaged plane in Turkey

August 01, 2017, 9:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The experienced pilot was praised in his home country but later he faced over his sympathy for Russia

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MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed support to Ukrainian pilot Alexander Akopov who made a miraculous blind landing of a damaged plane in Turkey last week.

The experienced pilot was praised in his home country but later he faced over his sympathy for Russia.

"Alexander, what you did is beyond politics, thank you for your professionalism! If they still criticize you in your home country - you are always welcome," the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page.

On July 27, at an altitude of about 1,200 meters above the earth a passenger plane of the Turkish airline AtlasGlobal came under powerful hail. As a result the cockpit of the liner, that carried 121 passengers and six crew members, was seriously damaged. Akopov who was the captain of the crew, decided to return to the departure airport - Istanbul where he made a blind landing the damaged plane in difficult weather conditions.

"The whole world applauds to the deed of a Ukrainian citizen," Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko wrote on Twitter in Saturday. However, Facebook's users later noticed that since May 2015 the pilot had combined his main photo in the social network with the image of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This caused the anger of many Ukrainian users, who suspected the pilot in sympathy for Russia.

Later it turned out that Akopov was a native of Donetsk and worked for Donbassaero until 2013. After the events of 2014 he got a job in a foreign company. His flying time is almost 14,000 hours, length of service is 31 years.

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