The fate of the two pilots in the Russian Su-24 shot down by Turkey yesterday has been nebulous over the past day, with the two parachuting out of the crashing plane, and Turkmen rebels inside Syria reporting they’d killed both while they were on their way to the ground. They claimed to have recovered both bodies, though only one was shown.
That now appears to have been false, as Russia is reporting that only the one pilot was actually killed, and the other was rescued, alive and well, by Russian helicopters. A second Russian soldier, a marine, was also killed during the rescue operations, when the Free Syrian Army (FSA) attacked one of the rescue helicopters.
Russia identified the two pilots of Lt. Col. OIeg Peshkov, the one slain by the Turkmen, and Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin, who was rescued successfully. The slain marine was identified as Aleksandr Pozynich. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced awards for courage for all three men.
Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu warned Russia against any retaliation against the Turkmen, saying they are not a legitimate target in a war that’s meant to target ISIS. Russia has announced future bombers will be escorted by fighter planes to prevent future shootdowns.