One of the two Russian pilots who parachuted out of a Su-24 fighter jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday is believed dead, possibly killed by a Syrian rebel faction, but the second pilot is "alive and well," Russia said on Wednesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin elaborated in televised remarks that the pilot is "safe and sound" at Russia's airbase in a government-held area of Syria following a 12-hour rescue operation involving Russian and Syrian special forces.
Putin has called the downing of the warplane an unprovoked "stab in the back" with "serious consequence," and Russia says its plane never entered Turkish airspace. On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia is sending its new S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria. Turkey says the Su-24 was warned repeatedly that it was in Turkish airspace before shots were fired. Turkey is the first NATO member to shoot down a Russian warplane in half a century.