The Russian ministry of defense has denied reports of its military aircraft being shot at by Syrian opposition forces or IS militants. It has however confirmed that one of its Mi-24 aircraft crashed in Syria killing both the pilots aboard.
The helicopter crashed due to a technical malfunction on December 31 while it was flying to the military base in Hama, Syria, Russian Defense ministry statement was quoted by RadioFreeEurope on Wednesday.
"Both pilots died in a hard landing 15 kilometers from the air base," the ministry said, adding that a technician was injured and taken to another air base for emergency treatment.
The Mil Mi-24 is a large, two-engine battlefield and multipurpose helicopter that is designed for direct ground support of tanks and armored vehicles.
It can transport eight people or 1,500 kilograms of cargo in its cargo hold.