STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Russian military reveals identity of pilot shot down in Syria

The Russian military has named the pilot ...

Posted: Feb 5, 2018 6:17 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2018 6:17 PM

The Russian military has named the pilot shot down Saturday in Syria, opening an unusual window into Russian military casualties in the country.

In a statement released Monday, the Russian Ministry of Defense said the aviator, Maj. Roman Filipov, managed to eject from his Su-25 ground-attack aircraft after it was hit by a surface-to-air missile in the northwest province of Idlib.

After struggling to keep the plane in the air, Filipov bailed out in the vicinity of Tell Debes, a settlement held by Syrian militants fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad, the statement said.

It said that Filipov held his ground as the militant fighters approached, exchanging fire with his sidearm. After being wounded, the statement said, Filipov blew himself up with a hand grenade as the fighters closed in on his position.

Filipov -- described by the Russian military as an "experienced pilot" with previous service in Syria -- was not the first Russian aviator to be shot down since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent warplanes to back the Syrian government in September 2015. In November that year, a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft near the Syria-Turkey border, sparking a confrontation between Moscow and Ankara.

Russian casualties cloaked in secrecy

The Russian government does not always disclose its casualties in Syria, sensitive to public reaction in the runup to Putin's bid for re-election in March.

Ruslan Leviev of the Conflict Intelligence Team, a group that collects open-source information on Russia's military involvement in Syria, said Russian military officials will announce the death of a pilot, but may not always announce the names of Russian troops that are on the ground supporting military operations.

The deaths of Russian military contractors -- widely reported to be on the ground in Syria, but not officially acknowledged -- are also not disclosed, he added. The Kremlin often downplays its ground presence in Syria, preferring to present its intervention as a largely bloodless air war.

"Russian military officials selectively announce Syria casualties, often withholding names or giving them only after the media do so," Leviev said. "Private military contractor casualties are never admitted by the MoD."

Much about Russian casualties in Syria appears obscured by military secrecy. Unlike the US Department of Defense, which releases the names of servicemembers who die in combat after next of kin are notified, the Russian government has not published a comprehensive list of its casualties in Syria.

Estimates suggest that the figures run into the dozens, but accurate numbers are hard to come by. In December, the respected Russian business newspaper Vedomosti tried to extrapolate active-duty casualty figures based on insurance claims related to the deaths of service members. Those claims include combat- and non-combat deaths: In the case of Filipov, the Russian Ministry of Defense said it would "provide all the necessary support and help to the parents and family of the heroic deceased."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 662750

Reported Deaths: 12623
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion907691647
Lake48461880
Allen35897638
Hamilton32121398
St. Joseph30032513
Elkhart25403417
Vanderburgh21261379
Tippecanoe20050203
Johnson16362360
Porter15987270
Hendricks15835300
Clark11976181
Madison11756319
Vigo11625230
Monroe10343163
Delaware9842179
LaPorte9778197
Howard9059198
Kosciusko8567111
Bartholomew7464147
Warrick7422151
Hancock7409132
Floyd7217170
Wayne6640192
Grant6432157
Boone610088
Morgan6096125
Dubois5916111
Dearborn548368
Cass545099
Marshall5427104
Henry542593
Noble509778
Jackson465067
Shelby460790
Lawrence4186113
Gibson401381
Harrison400464
Clinton396153
Montgomery387283
DeKalb385878
Miami357563
Knox357485
Whitley349537
Huntington345777
Steuben338855
Wabash331876
Putnam330559
Ripley327162
Adams323549
Jasper316643
White297352
Jefferson295074
Daviess285496
Fayette271956
Decatur270988
Greene261580
Posey261231
Wells258375
Scott250850
Clay241644
LaGrange240970
Randolph225476
Spencer218030
Jennings215344
Washington211627
Sullivan203339
Fountain201642
Starke188251
Owen182353
Fulton179037
Jay177928
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush165122
Vermillion160842
Franklin159435
Tipton146741
Parke139316
Pike127832
Blackford120627
Pulaski106644
Newton96532
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford90713
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7548
Union67210
Ohio53711
Unassigned0431

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 968874

Reported Deaths: 17346
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1119871212
Cuyahoga957051750
Hamilton73287974
Montgomery47254892
Summit40184957
Butler35456473
Lucas35279767
Stark29356843
Warren22381276
Lorain21994391
Mahoning19444544
Lake18379305
Clermont18346212
Delaware16437136
Licking14967200
Fairfield14506160
Trumbull14315465
Greene13568214
Medina13370219
Clark12246336
Wood11506194
Portage11008160
Allen10768235
Richland10278206
Miami10011190
Muskingum8169131
Columbiana8120183
Pickaway8041104
Tuscarawas8029236
Marion7982137
Wayne7857219
Erie6872184
Ross6130137
Geauga6057129
Hancock5981114
Ashtabula5959147
Scioto5933104
Lawrence524974
Union512352
Darke5026124
Belmont491889
Huron4797118
Jefferson4790108
Sandusky476196
Seneca4671103
Athens463733
Washington462287
Mercer4582101
Auglaize455499
Shelby440970
Knox401686
Putnam3986101
Madison392147
Ashland379195
Fulton378664
Defiance3714102
Brown369242
Crawford357496
Logan354060
Preble352671
Clinton340064
Highland327756
Ottawa323267
Williams301878
Jackson289356
Champaign286646
Guernsey286234
Fayette268144
Perry267744
Morrow259225
Henry245765
Hardin244457
Holmes2430104
Coshocton235547
Van Wert229249
Gallia221846
Adams216032
Pike215228
Wyandot209353
Hocking194049
Carroll180828
Paulding160023
Meigs135037
Noble128742
Monroe116436
Morgan100834
Harrison100433
Vinton76715
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Angola
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 31°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 35°
Fort Wayne
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Sunny, Cooler Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events