Veterans of the Air Force honored the memory of the Hero of Russia Khabibullin on Hmeymim
Military pilots from Tatarstan arrived at the base of the Russian Aerospace Forces Hmeymim in Syria to honor the memory of fellow Hero of Russia Colonel Ryafagat Khabibullin.
"I think every pilot or test-pilot, and even more a military pilot, are people who are ready for a feat at any moment, ready to give their lives," one of the participants in the ceremony, test-pilot, Hero of Russia Marat Alykov, told reporters.
In turn, Hero of Russia Air Force veteran Vladimir Alimov noted that Khabibullin received the Hero of Russia star posthumously not so much for destroying the enemy, but for saving fellow soldiers at the cost of his life.
"As a commander, I would not have sent him alone. It was reckless, but he couldn't do anything else. He flew to save the guys and saved a lot of them," he said.
The commander of the 55th separate helicopter regiment, Ryafagat Khabibullin, died heroically near Palmyra on July 8, 2016. On that day, he was piloting an Mi-25 attack helicopter during a technical flight, not a combat one – he was flying a Syrian Air Force vehicle. At the same time, the terrorists of the banned in Russia terrorist group "Islamic state" broke through the defense of the Syrian army in Palmyra. Russian sappers who were clearing the ancient city of mines and shells were under threat. Upon learning of this, Khabibullin and his partner Evgeny Dolgin decided to immediately attack the militants on their own.
Their helicopter shot all the ammunition, thwarting the offensive of the terrorists. Mi-25 was shot down by fire from the ground when it was already returning to the base. Khabibullin and Dolgin were killed.