The Russian pilot who survived after his warplane was shot down by the Turkish army claims he didn’t receive any warning before the foreign forces opened fire.
On an opposing version, Turkish authorities showed audio recordings of the warning messages they allegedly sent to the aircraft.
“In actual fact, there were no warnings at all. Neither through the radio, nor visually, so we did not at any point adjust our course,” said Konstantin Murakhtin, the survivor pilot.
The recorded warning from the Turkish Air Force notified the Russian jet that they were approaching Turkish airspace, and that they should change their heading south immediately. Nevertheless, the authenticity of the recording hasn’t been confirmed yet.
The 39 year-old pilot expressed that if the Turkish Air Force would had wanted to warn them, they could have showed themselves by flying into parallel courses. Instead of that, they were hit suddenly, being unable to perform an anti-missile maneuver, according to Murakhtin.
While Turkish authorities insist that the jet broke into their territory, and ignored 10 repeated warnings to retreat — and therefore it was their right to shoot down the plane —, Russian officials deny it, stating that the jet didn’t go beyond Syria.
Murakhtin himself said he knew the territory well and that they never trespassed Turkish airspace. The pilot added that it was impossible to do so, arguing that they were flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters and with clear weather, which gave him total control of the flight course.
Murakhtin’s co-pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, didn’t survive the incident. He was shot by Syrian rebels after he activated the parachute to get out of the warplane. The pilot managed to hide until he was later rescued. Syrian rebels claimed to have retrieved Peshkov’s body and said they’d exchange it for Syria’s government prisoners.
The event has brought controversy about the impact this will have over Russia and Turkey’s relationship. Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, implied on Wednesday that the incident had been a deliberate provocation.
However, he assured Russia had no intentions of initiating a war with Turkey. Both countries’ foreign ministers may hold a reunion to go over the issue, according Turkey’s Foreign Ministry.
Source: New York Daily News