The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia invited Oleksandr Akopov, the pilot who made the blind landing of the damaged passenger liner, to Russia. The Foreign Ministry of Russia reported this at Facebook.
‘The Ukrainian pilot of the Turkish Air Company Atlas Global Oleksandr Akopov heroically made the blind landing the airplane damaged by the hail in Istanbul on July 27 and he was intensely criticized on the Internet for his leaning to Russia’, the message said.
The department noted that the reason for criticism is the photo of Akopov at his Facebook page. It is a collage of the photos of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and the pilot.
‘Your act is beyond the policy. Thank you for your professionalism! If you are going to be criticized in your motherland, you can come to Russia. We are always glad to see you’, the message noted.
Akopov claimed that he was born in Boryspil that is near Kyiv at the interview to Strana.ua. Also, he noted that he published the collage ‘because he looks alike Lavrov. Is there the leanings to Russia? Yes, I have the leanings to Russia. I like the Russian hockey. And also I like the Ukrainian football. But I live and work in Ukraine. There is no point to accuse me of the separatism’, the pilot emphasized.
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko awarded Akopov with the Order for Bravery. He reported this at Twitter.
‘Oleksandr Akopov became the hero when he made the blind landing of the airplane damaged by hail in Istanbul airport. The whole world applauds to the act of the Ukrainian’, Poroshenko wrote.
The airplane Airbus A320 driven by Akopov that directed to Ercan of Northern Cyprus made the blind emergency landing at Istanbul Ataturk Airport on July 27, 2017. The forebody of the airplane and the glass on the flight deck were damaged in the result of the heavy hail. 127 people were in the airplane, including 6 members of the staff. Nobody got hurt.