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WASHINGTON, November 25. /TASS/. US Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has offered condolences over the downing of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber by Turkey and the deaths of Russian servicemen in Syria, the press office of US Department of State said on Wednesday.
An F-16 fighter of the Turkish Air Force downed on Tuesday Russia’s Su-24M bomber (NATO reporting name Fencer) over the territory of Syria.
The Su-24M crew managed to eject, but one of the two pilots was killed by fire from the ground, the search for the second continued. The second pilot has been rescued.
Two Mi-8 helicopters were engaged in the pilots’ search and rescue operation. One of the helicopters came under fire and made an emergency landing. One Russian contract serviceman — a marine, was killed.The rest of the servicemen on board the helicopter were safely evacuated. The downed Mi-8 helicopter was later destroyed by mortar fire from the territory controlled by militants.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier on Wednesday noted that Moscow knows the US always demands from its coalition members in Syria to coordinate use of US combat planes. Thus, he pointed to the possibility of the Turkish authorities agreeing with the United States their decision to order its warplanes in the air to shoot down the Russian plane.
"Some members of the coalition, including those providing their combat planes for strikes against Iraq and Syria have confided to us the planes involved were of US manufacture and the Americans normally request US permission for such operations," Lavrov said. "As far as I understand, our plane was downed by a US-made F-16. It remains to be seen whether the US requirement is applicable to Turkey, and if it is, I would like to know if Turkey had asked the United States for permission to send its planes on a combat mission and to shoot down a plane, albeit probably an identified one, over Syrian territory."