Russian forces erect a statue of 'Hero of Russia' pilot at Hmeimim airbase

Feb 07, 2021

Russian forces stationed at the Hmeimim airbase in Latakia governorate held a ceremony on Friday (February 5) to unveil a bust of Russian pilot, Roman Filippov, who the Russian government posthumously awarded the title of ‘Hero of Russia’ after his death in Syria.

The commander of the Russian Forces Group in Syria, Major General Alexander Chaiko, claimed at the statue's inauguration ceremony that Major Filippov had “devoted his whole life to the defence of our homeland, performed his military duty and spent his life fighting against terrorists.”

The bust (pictured) was erected next to the statue of another Russian officer, helicopter pilot, Rifat Habibulin, who died in 2016 while participating in battles for control of Palmyra city in Homs countryside.

Russian journalist Oleg Blokhin, who is embedded with Russian military forces in Syria, revealed that the Russian military forces had also erected a memorial to Filipov, whose plane was shot down on February 3, 2018, in the eastern Idlib countryside, at the place of his death, after they were unable to reach the site previously.

In a report broadcast by Russia 24 TV, Blokhin said that the place where the Russian pilot fought his last battle before his death was discovered by the Russian TV reporter, Yevgeny Poddubny, adding that the search for the location had been beset by difficulties due to the terrain in the region.

On February 3, 2018, opposition forces shot down the plane that Filippov was piloting over the de-escalation zone in Idlib governorate, while he was bombing the city of Saraqib; Filippov ejected from the plane with a parachute, before blowing himself up with a grenade to avoid being captured.

Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently granted the pilot the title of ‘Hero of Russia’, with the remains of his body being recovered at the time with help from Turkish mediation, according to reports from the Russian Defense Ministry.

The fighter jet the pilot was commanding was the Su-25 bomber, which military pilots describe as a flying tank. It entered service with the Russian Air Force in 1975, and many Su-25s have been upgraded to the Su-25SM level. Finally, it began developing it into the Su-25SM3 standard. The Russian Air Force received the first batches of Su-25SM3s in February 2013.

Report and photo from S.N.N.
Original (in Arabic):