Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev: Turkish fighter jets made an ambush for a Russian Su-24 frontlline bomber. In other cases, they would not have had enough time to take off from an airbase and reach the area.
Originally appeared at Sputniknews
Turkey had been tracking the Russian Su-24 for 34 minutes before shooting it down, Bondarev said. Turkish fighter jets were warned about Russian warplanes beforehand and waited in ambush prior to the attack.
“The radar surveillance data confirms that two F-16 fighter jets were patrolling the flight zone for an hour an 45 minutes at an altitude of 2,400 meters [some 7,800 feet], which speaks of a deliberate action and their readiness to attack from an ambush over the Turkish territory,” Bondarev told reporters in Moscow.
According to Bondarev, the Russian pilots have not received any warnings from the Turkish pilots on the designated radio frequency.
The Turkish plane spent 40 seconds in the Syrian airspace, entering it for two kilometers, the commander said.
“According to radar tracking data, it was the Turkish warplane that crossed into the Syrian airspace for about 40 seconds to a depth of 2 kilometers [6,560 feet], while the Russian fighter-bomber never violated the Turkish border”, he said.
According to the Syrian Air Defense data, “an object moving at a speed of 810 kmph from Turkey was registered”.
The Su-24 was downed at a distance of 5,5 kilometers to the south of the Turkish border immediately after it had attacked terrorists.
“At 10.24 Moscow time the crew carried out bombing and after it the plane was shot down by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish Air Force F-16 that had taken off from the 8th Diyarbakir airbase on the Turkish territory.”
Bondarev added that a Turkish F-16 fighter jet was guided to its intended target from the ground and launched an air-to-air missile while the Russian warplane was readying to carry out a second attack on terrorist positions.
“After approaching the Su-24M at a distance of launching a missile (5-7 kilometers), which proves that the F-16 was in the Syrian airspace, the fighter jet made a sharp descending manoeuvre to the right and disappeared from the radars.”
The launch of a missile was confirmed by the crew of the second Russian Su-24.
“[The crew] observed a plume of a white smoke and reported it.”
Turkey downed the Russian plane on November 24 over Syria. One of the pilots was killed by fire from the ground, the second one was rescued.
The rescue operation to save the second pilot was conducted professionally, the commander said.
The attack on the plane was filmed by radicals who knew where and when they “get that exclusive footage”, Bondarev added.