Lost but now found: Russian pilot thought to be missing, dead for 30 years dismasked in Afghanistan
– A pilot of Russian descent, who was declared missing for thirty years has been discovered in Afghanistan
– The pilot who is now over 60 years old, who shot down alongside his plane during the Soviet intervention in 1987
– He was quoted as saying that he longs to return home
An unnamed Russian pilot who was declared missing and thought to be dead for thirty years after his plane was shot down during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, has been found alive and desires to return home, according to a military veterans group in Russia, The Guardian reports.
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Valery Vostrotin, the head of the Russian paratroopers’ union, told RIA Novosti state news agency on Friday, June 1: “He is still alive. It’s very astonishing. Now he needs help.”
Vostrotin, who oversees the Russian side of a Russian-US joint commission on Prisoners Of War (POW) and soldiers missing in action, insisted to keep the pilot’s identity confidential.
Vyacheslav Kalinin, the deputy head of veterans’ group, known as the Battle Brotherhood, told the news agency that the said pilot, who is possibly more than 60 years old now, was shot down in 1987. Kalinin claimed that the pilot could be in Pakistan, where Afghanistan had camps for prisoners of war, and revealed that he intends to return home.
A similar report by the Kommersant business daily said that only one Soviet pilot, Sergei Pantelyuk from the southern Russian Rostov region, was shot down in 1987, and went missing along with his plane after taking off from Bagram airfield, now a US air base, north of Kabul.