Body of killed Russian pilot arrives in Russia

Moscow, Dec 1 (IANS) A Russian warplane carrying the body of the killed pilot onboard of a Russian Su-24 which was shot down by Turkish air force last week, arrived at Chkalovsky airport in Moscow region on Monday, the Defense Ministry said in an online statement.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and commander-in-chief of Russia’ s Airspace Force Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev met the plane, escorted by fighter jets, at the airfield, Xinhua reported.

According to Bondarev, “those who planned and carried out the betrayal would suffer from deserved punishment.”

The pilot, Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov, was awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation posthumously.

Also on Monday, the Defense Ministry said the Russian Su-34 bombers, deployed to strike terrorists positions in Syria, used for the first time the air-to-air missiles during the flight mission.

“Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers flew for the first time on a mission not only with OFAB-500 bombs and KAB-500 guided aerial bombs, but also with short and medium range air-to-air missiles,” the ministry spokesman Igor Klimov said.

The missiles are equipped with target-seeking devices and are capable of hitting aerial targets at a distance of up to 60 kilometers, RIA Novosti news agency quoted Klimov as saying.

After the downing of the Su-24 warplane on November 24, Russia intensified airstrikes in Syria against the Turkey-backed rebels in northern Syrian on the Syria-Turkey borders, specifically targeting all convoys the rebels were receiving from Turkey via rebel-held Syrian border-crossings in the northern province of Aleppo.

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