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Russian soldier killed while trying to rescue pilots in plane shot down by Turkey

One of the pilots was killed while the second is reportedly with the Syrian army.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

A RUSSIAN SOLDIER has been killed during a failed operation to rescue two pilots whose jet was shot down by Turkey on the Syrian border.

“A search and rescue operation to evacuate the Russian pilots from the crash site was launched with the help of two Mi-8 helicopters,” military spokesman General Sergei Rudskoi said in televised comments.

“During the operation, one of the helicopters was damaged by gunfire and had to land. A soldier was killed.”

One of the pilots from the Russian fighter jet shot down by Turkey was killed, while Russia’s ambassador to France said the second pilot “was picked up by the Syrian army”.

“(He) managed to escape and according to the latest information we have, he was picked up by the Syrian army and will be taken to the Russian airbase,” Alexander Orlov told Europe 1 radio.

A Turkish military statement said the plane entered Turkish airspace over the town of Yaylidag, in Hatay province. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies.

The incident has heightened tensions between Russia and Turkey, with Russian President Vladimir Putin describing it as “a stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists” which would have “serious consequences”.

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However, a Russian diplomat today said the country wants to form an anti-Islamic State alliance with US, France and Turkey.

- Additional reporting from AP

Read: Putin: Downing of Russian jet by Turkey a “stab in the back”

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