Russian Pilot: 'No Contact at All' Before Plane Shot Down

He also says there's 'no way' they were in Turkish airspace
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2015 1:04 PM CST

(Newser) – The Russian pilot rescued after his plane was shot down by Turkish forces on Tuesday says there's "no way" his plane was in Turkey's airspace, the BBC reports. Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin also denies Turkey's claims that he and his fellow pilot were warned at least 10 times in the minutes before they were shot down, according to NBC News. "There was no contact at all," he said Wednesday. "The missile hit the plane's tail all of a sudden. We didn't even have a visual of it." CNN reports Turkey's president has claimed the country was within its rights to shoot down the Russian warplane, as it was violating Turkish airspace far away from any supposed ISIS targets. Murakhtin's statement backs up Russia's stance that the plane never left Syrian airspace.

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Bloomberg reports the host of a popular Russian talk show says the incident may be reason enough for war, comparing it to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that started the first World War. According to the BBC, Murakhtin, who was awarded the Order of Courage Wednesday, says he wants to return to duty because "someone has to pay" for the death of his fellow pilot, who was shot while parachuting to safety. (Russia's foreign minister says "it looks very much like a planned provocation," though he downplayed the idea of military retaliation.)

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