Second downed warplane pilot rescued: Russia

Moscow, Nov 25 (IANS) The second pilot of the downed Russian Su-24 warplane was rescued on Wednesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

The pilot was rescued “safe and sound” by Russian and Syrian forces and taken to Syria’s Hmeimim airbase, Xinhua reported.

A Russian Su-24 fighter jet was shot down on Tuesday by Turkey near the Turkish-Syria border.

Turkey claimed responsibility, saying the warplane had violated Turkish airspace and the move was “within engagement rules”.

Russia insisted the plane was in Syrian airspace on a mission to strike at the Islamic State targets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said S-300 anti-aircraft missile system would be deployed at Hmeimim airbase, where a Russian airforce group for anti-terrorist strikes is located.

Moskva guard missile cruiser of Russia is ready at new combat duty position near Syria’s Latakia “to destroy any potentially dangerous air targets,” Putin said.

Putin on Tuesday called the downing “a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists”.

While, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday condemned Turkey for downing the warplane and warned of consequences.

“The recklessly criminal actions of the Turkish authorities would lead to three consequences,” an official statement quoted Medvedev as saying.

“First, the dangerous worsening of relations between Russia and NATO, which cannot be justified by any interests, including protection of state borders,” the prime minister said.

“Second, Turkey’s actions in fact demonstrated the protection of the militants of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group,” Medvedev said.

He said that there is “available information” about “direct financial interest” of some Turkish officials having connection with enterprises held by the IS.

“Third, the long-standing good-neighbourly relations between Russia and Turkey, including in the economy and humanitarian spheres have been undermined,” Medvedev said.

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