Pilot of downed plane denies Turkey gave warning

The surviving pilot of a Russian plane shot down by Turkey on the Syrian border has said no warning was given.

Capt Konstantin Murakhtin told Russian television there was “no way” the jet could have violated Turkish airspace, as Turkey said it did.

Russia said Capt Murakhtin was rescued in a 12-hour operation involving special forces.

Turkey insists the pilots were warned 10 times before the plane was shot down.

It is not clear what happened to the body of his co-pilot, who was killed by gunfire as he parachuted from the burning plane.

Capt Murakhtin was speaking from the Hmeymim airbase, where Russia’s aircraft have been based in its Syrian campaign, and where he was taken after being rescued.

He said he knew the region he had been flying in “very well” and that the jet had not been in Turkish airspace “even for a second”.

He added the wanted to go back to duty and stay at the airbase, saying “someone has to pay” for the death of the other pilot, Lt Col Oleg Peshkov.

Tensions have escalated between the two countries over the incident, and Russia has broken off military contacts with Turkey. The US, the EU and the UN have all appealed for calm.

President Putin has described the downing of the plane as a “stab in the back”, and warned of serious consequences.

His Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the incident was a “planned provocation” but Russia did not want to wage war over the shooting, Reuters reports.


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