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Russian Warplane Shot Down in Syria by Rebels, Defense Ministry Says

Since President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia first ordered his forces to Syria, Russia has lost four warplanes, four helicopters and about 50 servicemen in the conflict.

In a later statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it used high-precision weapons to kill more than 30 rebel forces in the area where the attack on the Russian aircraft was launched. Russian authorities, along with Turkish forces who are responsible for the de-escalation zone, are working to retrieve the pilot’s body.

In December, Mr. Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, declaring their mission completed. However, some Russian warplanes have stayed at the Hmeimim air base, which became Russia’s permanent air force facility in Syria.

In Moscow, Russian lawmakers promised a thorough investigation of the crash.

“Politically, this is very important and will have far-reaching consequences,” Franz Klintsevich, a member of the Russian Federation Council told Interfax, a Russian news agency.

Others blamed the United States for supplying Syrian rebels with weapons capable of shooting down the warplane.

“We have warned that the Americans will deliver such equipment, and they cannot control it later,” Aleksei Chepa, a member of the State Duma, told Interfax, adding that concerns had been expressed before that the weapons could bring down military and civilian planes.

Source: NYT > World

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