Footage of the final moments of the Russian pilot whose Su-25 jet was shot down by a MANPAD rocket over Syria shows he detonated a grenade to avoid capture by the terrorists.
In the footage released by the Hayet Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group on Monday, several armed men can be seen running towards the site of the crashed plane.
Gunfire was exchanged between the advancing terrorists and the pilot, Major Roman Filipov (seen below), before he shouts, “This is for our guys” in Russian, then an explosion can be heard.
The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the footage, noting that Filipov chose to kill himself by detonating a grenade instead of being captured by the terrorists.
Filipov has posthumously been awarded Russia’s uppermost honor, the Hero of Russia medal.
“The pilot died heroically. The pilot’s family and friends have our condolences, and we are proud of our heroes,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
On Saturday, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that the Su-25 fighter jet had been shot down in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.
Heat-seeking missile that downed Su-25 jet
Head of the Russian lower house Defense Committee Vladimir Shamanov on Monday, said that the plane was most likely shot down by a US Stinger or Soviet Strela missile.
He noted that the type of the missile could be only determined after thorough examination of the remains of the plane, which is located in a militant-controlled area.
“It’s impossible to determine which MANPAD it was until the crash site is secured – an old ‘Strela’, a newer ‘Igla’, or an American ‘Stinger’…It’s only clear, looking at the trajectory of the plane’s fall, that its right engine was burning. It means that a heat-seeking missile hit the engine,” Shamanov said.
Shamanov added that Syrian special forces are still trying to recover the plane’s remains.
“Syrian special forces are trying to get there for the third day straight. Regular Syrian troops are also conducting their operation in the area,” he added.
Preliminary data showed the jet had been downed by a MANPAD. The pilot had parachuted down into the area controlled by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri outfit, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, but was killed during a confrontation with militants from an unspecified group.
Following the announcement, Russian military planes retaliated afterwards by targeting the Nusra-controlled area of Idlib and killing more than 30 terrorists.
Idlib fell to foreign-backed militants in 2015. The Syrian army, in cooperation with Russia, launched an anti-terror campaign in October 2017 to liberate the province.