Statement by Russian Chief of Armed Forces on Downed SU-24

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Statement by the Chief of the operational management of the armed forces of the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Lieutenant General Sergei Rudsky on the fact of provocative acts by the Turkish air force.

During the execution of a combat flight over the territory of the Syrian Republic a front-line Su-24 Russian air force bomber was shot down by F-16 fighters of the Turkish air force. Presumably the strike was from a short-range missile with thermal homing head.

No attempt the by the Turkish aircraft to connect with or make visual contact with our crew was recorded .

The rocket hit the Su-24 over the territory of Syria. The plane crashed 4 km inside the Syrian border. The crew ejected. According to preliminary data, one pilot was killed in the air from ground fire.

According to our exact recorded data our airplane did not cross the Turkish border.

The same is confirmed by the data of the Syrian air defense.

Moreover according to the radar reconnaissance of Hmejmim aerodrome a violation of Syrian airspace by the attacking aircraft of the AIR FORCE of Turkey was noted.

This fact is regarded as a gross violation of the norms of international law with dire consequences and a direct violation of the memorandum on the prevention of incidents and ensuring flight safety in the Syrian Arab Republic signed with the United States and extending to all coalition countries, including Turkey.

Perhaps that is why Turkey has started urgent consultations with NATO, rather than engaging in urgent contact with the Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation.

The Turkish military attache in the Russian Federation strongly protested the actions of the Turkish air force, resulting in the loss of our aircraft.

It should be noted that from the very beginning of the operation a direct telephone line between the national defence control centre of the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and Turkey's Defence Ministry, was established, but it had no practical benefits through the fault of the Turkish side.

With the aim of evacuating the Russian pilots from their landing spot a search-and-rescue operation was carried ouit involving two helicopters MI-8. During the operation, one of the helicopters was damaged as a result of small arms fire and made a forced landing in neutral territory. One marine was killed.

Through the actions of the personnel of the search and rescue team the helicopter crew were evacuated and are currently on the air base "Hmejmim". The helicopter was destroyed by mortar fire from groups controlling the territory.

The search and rescue operation for the crew from the Russian bomber continues.

I wish to emphasize that in the current theatre of acitivity Russian Aviation is carrying out an operation with Syrian Government troops to destroy groups, in which, according to our data, are over 1000 militants from the North Caucasus.

Note that none of our partners, nor the countries fighting against the ISIS, ever mentioned that there were units of the so-called moderate opposition in this area, or recommended not hitting the area. On the contrary, these areas are known as territory controlled by the most radical rebels.

The General staff is currently exploring additional measures to ensure the security of the Russian air base.

First: all actions of strike aircraft will be implemented only under cover of fighter aircraft.

Second, measures will be taken to strengthen the air defense. To this end, the Cruiser "Moskva" equipped with the AIR DEFENSE system, "Fort", similar to the C-300, will occupy the coastal district of Latakia. We warn that all targets representing potential dangers to us will be destroyed.

Third: Contacts with Turkey on military lines will be discontinued.