According to Russian investigators, the memory card in the flight recorder of the Russian fighter jet that was shot down by Turkey near the Syrian border last month has been damaged. The “black box” of the destroyed Su-24 aircraft was opened in Moscow on Friday, while journalists and diplomats watched.
According to the head of the investigation Nikolai Primak, information regarding the flight was unable to be located. Investigators were hoping to use the black box data to settle the disagreement over where exactly the jet was located when it was hit. A full analysis of the black box is expected to the released sometime next week.
With the Turkish attack, relations between the two countries have fallen into crisis. Russia has imposed heavy sanctions in response to the attack. Russian President Vladimir Putin had promised that there would be “severe consequences” for the incident.
Meanwhile, Turkey has insisted that the jet ignored repeated warnings to exit Turkish airspace. Turkey stated that the country was merely protecting its sovereignty. The Russian aircraft was originally deployed in Syria to support the efforts of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
However, Russia has disputed these claims, saying that the plane was shot down within Syrian airspace. On Thursday, Putin again expressed anger towards the Turkish government, accusing the country of being subservient to the United States and of “creeping Islamization”.
The plane was originally shot down by a group of Turkish F-16 fighter jets on November 24. The two crew members of the airplane ejected, with the pilot being killed by militants on the ground. The plane’s navigator was rescued the next day. Later, a Russian marine who was sent to rescue the crew members was killed, and a Russian helicopter was destroyed.
Russia and President Putin have demanded that Turkey issue a formal apology for the incident. In the meantime, Russia has placed major economic sanctions on Turkey, which could cost the country billions of dollars.