CHKALOVSKY AIRFIELD /Moscow Region/, February 8. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister and General of the Army Sergey Shoigu and other high-ranking defense officials paid their last respects to Roman Filipov, the heroic pilot who gave his life fighting terrorists in Syria, at the Chkalovsky Airfield in the Moscow Region. An Il-76 carrying the body of the pilot set off for Voronezh.
"Today, we are paying our last respects to Major of the Guards and Hero of Russia Roman Filipov. We are sending him off with military honors, with participation of his friends and comrades-in arms, the Russian defense minister and his deputies. Major Filipov performed his military duty with honor, remained loyal to his oath and sacrificed his life fighting the enemy, thus placing himself among the Motherland’s best defenders," Russian Deputy Defense Minister and State Secretary Nikolay Pankov said at the funeral ceremony.
"His name will forever remain in our hearts and in the hearts of our compatriots. And, I feel that it is important for Roman Filipov to know that his family - his wife Olga and his daughter - will always remain in our big military family," he assured, adding that these are not just words, but the principled attitude of the Defense Ministry that will always remain true.
Former Air Force commander-in-chief Army General Vladimir Mikhailov said, for his part, that the pilot’s sacrifice astonished the world. "Hundreds of thousands of people admire him, as can be seen from the rallies in memory of Roman Filipov… The duty to the Motherland that Roman Filipov performed merits great respect. We sometimes say, ‘Heroes don’t die, heroes live forever.’ And Roman will live among us," he said.
After the funeral ceremony, the coffin containing the pilot’s body was taken on board the plane, to the strains of the military march and followed by a guard of honor, and set off for Voronezh.
Filipov’s Su-25 aircraft was shot down over the Idlib de-escalation zone on February 3 from a man-portable air defense system. The pilot managed to eject, but ended up battling an overwhelming number of terrorists in a firefight on the ground. Encircled by the enemy, the officer blew himself up with a grenade. Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded him the title of the Hero of Russia posthumously.