Russia has sought Turkey’s help to recover the engine among debris of its Sukhoi-25 ground-attack aircraft to determine the type of missile used to shoot at the plane.
The Su-35 was brought down by what is believed to be a man-portable missile (MAN-PAD) fired from a shoulder-mounted launcher by militant in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Feb. 3, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.
The Russians said they first and foremost wanted to determine “what type of missile was used in the attack,” for which they needed to analyze the engine, Turkish media reported quoting government sources.
Shortly after the ministry’s statement, which was released on Feb. 6, the Russian agency Interfax said Turkey on Feb. 6 had helped repatriate the body of a Russian pilot killed in Syria, citing the defense ministry.
The body of Major Roman Filipov has reached Russia and would be laid to rest in a military ceremony in southern Russia on Feb. 8, the statement said.
The 34-year-old pilot, was killed fighting Jabhat al-Nusra militants on the ground after he ejected from the Russian Sukhoi-25 following an attack on the aircraft, the Russian ministry said.
The fight ended with Filipov’s move, according to the ministry: He blew himself up using a hand grenade.
Following the incident, the ministry has decreed that warplanes must fly above 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) to stay safe from the reach of short-range missiles, Russian daily Izvestia said, citing the ministry.
“It’s extremely worrying that shoulder-launched surface-to air missiles are in the hands of terrorists,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Feb. 5.