MOSCOW, April 28 (RAPSI) – The Russian Investigative Committee considers launching a probe into the murder of lieutenant-colonel Oleg Peshkov, a pilot of a Su-24 jet downed by Turkish warplanes near the border with Turkey, Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing undisclosed sources in the Investigative Committee and Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office.
According to Kommersant, the incident, which occurred on November 24, 2015, was initially investigated by officers of the military police and the command of the Russian military base in Syria.
The plane was allegedly downed by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16C fighter. Two pilots managed to eject from the plane. Peshkov was killed by ground fire from militants when parachuting, his navigator survived. Another serviceman, marine Alexander Pozynich, was killed during the rescue mission.
Alparslan Celic, a fighter from a Turkish-backed Turkmen brigade in Syria, publicly admitted killing Russian pilot.
Investigators from Moscow were not authorised to search for Celic at that time, and the inquiry was wrapped up. An attempt was made on the life of a serviceman, but “due to impossibility to identify and detect a person to be held accused or suspect,” the case was dropped, Kommersant quotes its sources as having said.
Celic and his associates were arrested on March 30 by the Turkish police in a restaurant in the city of Izmir suspicion of the illegal possession of firearms.
At the moment, Russia's Investigative Committee considers launching a probe into the murder of Russian servicemen in Syria, including Peshkov, under Article 12 of the Russian Criminal Code permitting investigators to prosecute foreigners committing crimes against “interests of Russia” or Russian citizens abroad, according to Kommersant.
In the framework of such a probe the Investigative Committee may forward a request with regard to Celik to the Turkish Prosecutor’s Office and seek his prosecution in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Celik retracted his admittance of killing the pilot and sent a letter to Maria Zakharova, the official spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, asking to start a dialog with him. However, Zakharova refused to react on the basis of some unofficial communications published on social networks. She said that Russia is interested in Celik’s clear statements with regard to the murder of the pilot and details of the incident based on proof.