Video: Russian pilot avoids jihadi capture by blowing himself up with a grenade

Video: Russian pilot avoids jihadi capture by blowing himself up with a grenade
A Rebel fighter takes a picture of a downed Sukhoi-25 fighter jet in Syria's northwest province. A Russian pilot, who was shot down in rebel-controlled territory in Syria, killed two rebels before blowing himself up with a grenade. (Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images)

After Syrian rebels struck his plane with a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile, Russian pilot Maj. Roman Filipov ejected from his cockpit, landed, killed two rebels with his pistol, then shouted, “This is for our guys!” as he blew himself up with a grenade, the New York Post reported.

What happened?

Filipov, who is from the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, was flying a Sukhoi 25SM fighter jet over the rebel-controlled Idlib Province in Syria, southwest of Aleppo, when jihadi rebels from the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham opened fire.

A missile caught his plane, which he recovered briefly, but had to eject after one of the engines failed, and flames overtook it.

As he parachuted down into rebel territory, jihadis shot at him, but he landed unscathed, and fought off the rebels with his Stechkin pistol, killing two of the rebels.

Surrounded, a grenade in hand, he shouted, “This is for our guys!” Then he pulled the pin, and blew  himself up.

(Content warning: This video, though not graphic, might be disturbing for some viewers):

Filipov was flying over the de-escalation zone at an altitude of roughly 13,000 feet, lower than the mandated 16,000 feet, which has become somewhat common recently. Russians officials have since re-instated its fighter jets to abide by the 16,000 feet mandate, in order to avoid being shot down by rebels’ shoulder-launched anti-aircraft MANPAD missiles.

How will he be remembered?

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “Major Roman Filipov fought an unequal battle with his service weapon until the last minute of his life. When surrounded by the terrorists and heavily wounded, the Russian officer blew himself up with a grenade when the militants got within several dozen metres of him.”

“The pilot died heroically,” Peskov added. “We are proud of our heroes.”

Reuters reported that the pilot’s body has been returned home.

News came Tuesday that Filipov, 33, has posthumously been nominated for the Hero of Russia award, the Kremlin’s highest honor, according to the Telegraph.