Lithuania is not going to return the pilot of Su-27 to Russia
A scandal is growing around the Russian fighter airplane Su-27 that crashed in Lithuania on Thursday. Lithuania claims that is not going to give away the pilot Valeriy Troyanov and the black box from the aircraft. Meantime, Estonia is accusing Russia of violating flight rules and threatening civil flights.
The pilot was taken to the General Prosecutor's Office in Vilnius for interrogation. Prosecutor Mindaugas Duda is to take the decision concerning the further status of Troyanov in this case.
Lithuanians estimated the damage caused by the crash of Su-27 at about 2900 euro. Nothing is reported about the results of interrogation yet. Local authorities are arranging visa for Troyanov to make his stay in Lithuania legal. The pilot will be kept in Lithuania as long as the investigation needs him.
Earlier on the Lithuanian Minister of Defense Gediminas Kirkilas said that the return of the pilot would depend the investigation. “If the pilot confesses that he did it on purpose that means he committed a crime. If it is an accident, he may be released soon”, he said.
According to Interfax Kirkilas had a phone conversation with his Russian colleague Sergey Ivanov, but there are no details reported.
Lithuanian Minister of Defense said that neither the pilot nor the black box would be given away until the end of investigation conducted by the joint Russian-Lithuanian inter-departmental commission. However, the countries are not able to make this commission joint. Russian Minister of Defense asked the commander of Russian Air force 6th army major general Vladimir Sviridov to contact Lithuanians and to take a flight to accident area. However, Sviridov did not manage to arrive in Lithuania because he did not have a visa, Kommersant reports. Meantime, inter-departmental commission has already been formed.
According to the Russian Air force press service, Su-27 crashed because of the malfunction of navigation equipment and loss of direction. However, Kirkilas claimed that Su-27 had illegally crossed the Lithuanian border. He had no permission to fly over the country’s territory.
Kirkilas said earlier that the Lithuanian prosecution had already started pretrial investigation and that the commission was going to collaborate with Russia, RIA Novosti reports.
The minister also said that the Russian pilot was in the state of shock and could not tell much about the accident. According to the local media resources, Lithuanian doctors claimed that Troyanov was not injured, although he himself complained of back pain.
Meantime, Estonian defense forces also accused Russian Air Force of violating flight rules and threatening civil flights. Interfax reports that Russian planes received permission for flights in the region. Estonians complained that the obligatory aircraft’s transponders that are transmitting the flight information were off. And that was considered threatening to civil flights.
"There should be no Russian who goes to sleep without wondering if they're going to get their throat slit in the middle of the night,” Milley said