The attack on the Russian Su-24 bomber was
intentional and had been planned in advance, Viktor Bondarev,
the chief of Russia’s Air Force, announced Friday, calling the
incident an “unprecedented backstab.”
The commander shared with the media previously
unknown details of what happened on Tuesday.
On November 24, a pair of Russian Sukhoi Su-24
tactical bombers took off from Khmeimim airbase in Latakia at
06:15 GMT, with an assignment to carry out airstrikes in the
vicinity of the settlements of Kepir, Mortlu and Zahia, all in
the north of Syria. Each bomber was carrying four OFAB-250
high-explosive fragmentation bombs.
Ten minutes later, the bombers entered the
range of Turkish radars and took positions in the target area,
patrolling airspace at predetermined heights of 5,800 meters and
5,650 meters respectively.
Both aircraft remained in the area for 34
minutes. During this time there was no contact between the crews
of the Russian bombers and the Turkish military authorities or
Some 20 minutes after arriving at the
designated area, the crews received the coordinates of groups of
terrorists in the region. After making a first run, the bombers
performed a maneuver and then delivered a second strike.
Immediately after that, the bomber crewed by
Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov and Captain Konstantin Murakhtin
was attacked by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet operating from the
Diyarbakır airfield in Turkey.
To attack the Russian bomber with a
close-range air-to-air missile, the Turkish fighter jet had to
enter Syrian airspace, where it remained for about 40 seconds.
Having launched its missile from a distance of 5-7 kilometers,
the F-16 immediately turned towards the Turkish border,
simultaneously dropping its altitude sharply, thus disappearing
from the range of Russian radars at the Khmeimim airbase.
The Turkish fighter moved two kilometers into
Syrian airspace while the Russian bomber at no stage violated
Turkish airspace, Bondarev stressed.
The crew of the second Su-24M had a clear view
of the moment the missile was fired from the Turkish F-16, and
reported this to base.
Commander Bondarev noted that a pair of
Turkish F-16Cs had been in the area close to the attack zone for
more than an hour prior to the attack, which explains their
presence in the area. The time needed to get the aircraft ready
at the Diyarbakır airfield and travel to the attack zone is an
estimated 46 minutes.
One of Turkish F-16Cs stopped its maneuvers
and began to approach the Su-24M bomber about 100 seconds before
the Russian aircraft came closest to the Turkish border, which
also confirms the attack was pre-planned, Commander Bondarev
The chief of Russia’s Air Force also called
attention to the readiness of the Turkish media, which released
a professionally-made video of the incident recorded from an
area controlled by extremists a mere 1.5 hours after the Su-24
Commander Bondarev also mentioned the
memorandum of understanding regarding the campaign in Syria,
signed by Moscow and Washington on October 26. In accordance
with this agreement, the Russian side informed its American
counterparts about the mission of the two bombers in the north
of Syria on November 24, including the zones and heights of
Taking this into account, the Turkish
authorities' statement on not knowing which aircraft were
operating in the area raises eyebrows, Bondarev said.
The Turkish military not only violated all
international laws on protecting national borders, but never
delivered an apology for the incident or offered any help in the
search and rescue operation for the Su-24 crew.
The Su-24’s pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg
Peshkov, was shot dead by militants while parachuting to the
ground, having ejected from the stricken aircraft. His partner,
navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin, survived being shot at
while parachuting and managed to stay alive on the ground in an
area full of terrorists.
The rescue operation took several hours and
eventually recovered Murakhtin, although one Russian Marine in
the team was killed when the rescue helicopter was destroyed by
a US-made tank missile launched by the extremists – an incident
they filmed and published online.
Commander Bondarev specifically stressed that
the Russian pilot who survived the attack was actively looked
for not only by the jihadists, but also by a number of
unidentified and technically well-equipped groups.
After Captain Murakhtin was rescued, the
Russian Air Force delivered “more than massive, devastating”
airstrikes against the militants in the region where the
operation had been taking place, Bondarev reported.
See also -
Military expert: Turkish air force
stalked Russian jets ‘for several days’:
Russian military expert and blogger Vladislav Shurygin claims
the Turkish air force had been trying to catch and destroy
Russian attack aircraft “for several days.”
Belgian Physicists Calculate that
Everyone Is Lying About the Downed Russian Jet:
Using video of the incident and the maps provided by Turkish and
Russian officials, they show in a post on a blog run by KU
Leuven that what went down couldn’t possibly have happened as
both parties present it.