Technicians service a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer tactical bomber at Syria's Hmeimim airport. © Dmitriy Vinogradov / Sputnik
The body of the pilot of the Russian Su-24 bomber, shot down by Turkey on Tuesday, has arrived in Turkey, and will be sent to Russia, Turkish premier Ahmed Davutoglu said in a new conference.
The body is being treated in accordance with the Orthodox Christian tradition, Davutoglu told journalists in Ankara.
The Russian embassy confirmed the date of the transfer will be set on Sunday,
“Regarding the transfer of the body of the Su-24’s pilot to Russia, we don’t have a precise date and time. Today, the body will be delivered to Ankara, and then it will become clear when it will be sent to Russia,” Mityakov said.
While on a bombing run against Islamic State positions in Syria, the Russian Su-24 bomber was downed on Tuesday by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish Air Force F-16.
One Russian pilot was killed by Syrian rebels as he parachuted to the ground, while the other was rescued and returned safely to the Khmeimim airbase.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims the Russian bomber was in Turkish airspace, but the Russian command insists the Turkish fighter had crossed into Syria during the attack.
It remains unclear how Turkey managed to recover the body from the Syrian militants.
A couple of days ago, a Syrian rebel commander who boasted of murdering the Russian pilot on video turned out to be a Turkish ultranationalist, and a son of the ex-mayor in one of Turkey’s provinces.