Russia’s defence ministry has publicly opened the black box of the warplane shot down by Turkey last month, a step it hopes will help confirm its assertions that the jet did not stray into Turkish air space and that it was maliciously downed.
The incident, which occurred on 24 November, has prompted Moscow to impose retaliatory economic sanctions on Turkey. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has repeatedly accused Ankara of “stabbing Russia in the back”.
Turkey said the Su-24 fighter-bomber, part of Russia’s Syria-based strike force, strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings to leave. Russia said the plane did not leave Syria and posed no threat to Turkey.
Russian experts opened the plane’s orange flight recorder on Friday in Moscow in front of reporters and diplomats. Colonel Andrei Semonov said the device, located near the tail of the plane, had been damaged by the Turkish air-to-air missile as well as by its impact with the ground. Some of its memory chips were visibly broken in places. Officials said experts would try to analyse its contents over the weekend with the aid of special equipment before presenting their findings on Monday.