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Planes, Airmen Allegedly Lost in Turkmenistan Incident

[This text is excerpted from a longer article by Russian journalist Nikolai Lebedev, posted by Ashley Rye on the iufo listserve and forwarded to CNI News by James Sutton. Ashley Rye claims to personally know Lebedev.

The son of an air force pilot, Nikolai Lebedev was born in Vaiday, Russia, in 1950. He studied engineering as well as aeronautics and astronautics at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) from 1968 to 1975. He now specializes in irrigation engineering and lives with his wife and son in St. Petersburg, where he is also a writer for the St. Petersburg Evening newspaper.

CNI News has independently learned of several blatant and well-documented military encounters with UFOs in the former Soviet Union. The case reported here is new to us, however, and we have not obtained independent confirmation. We note with interest that Lebedev's concluding remarks echo a sentiment increasingly heard in the United States and vigorously espoused by such UFO activists as Dr. Steven Greer and Robert O. Dean. The issues of official UFO secrecy and security oaths appear to be the same in both countries.]

by Nikolai Lebedev

On 25 May 1990, during daytime, a giant disc-shaped object hovered at an altitude of about 1,000 metres above the town of Mary in Turkmenistan, one of the Turkic republics of the former Soviet Union. The object was reddish-orange in colour, with what looked like portholes on the rim, and had an estimated diameter of 300 metres. Military personnel observed it from a distance of no more than 3,000 metres.

The airspace in that region was under strict control at the time, due to the war in Afghanistan. All Soviet Air Defence Forces were divided into regional Air Defence armies, and the area around Mary was under the control of the 12th Air Defence Army, whose Air Defence division was under the command of Colonel Anatoli Kurkchy.

When informed about the UFO, Kurkchy gave the order to fire three ground-to-air guided missiles at it. The UFO made a slight horizontal maneuvre, and three beams of light which had been coming from its port side disintegrated the missiles. Colonel Kurkchy then gave the order to scramble two 2-seat interceptor aircraft, but at a point about 1,000 metres from the disc they appeared to be thrown to the ground, killing the pilots and destroying the aircraft.

Colonel Kurkchy was immediately removed from his post by the Army Command, and proceedings were instituted against him (under Paragraph 1, Item 5 of the Turkmenistan Criminal Procedures Code) by military prosecutors of the 12th Air Defence Army. However, according to my source, who spoke with the military prosecutor's department, the investigations were suddenly halted and all information connected with the event was made secret. Later I learned that the squadron in which the four pilots had served was disbanded.

I had difficulty trying to persuade my source to allow me to publish this story, but eventually he agreed. The article appeared in the St Petersburg Evening in November, 1991. I had appealed to those who had observed the disc to write to me at the newspaper office, and I gave my work phone number. Many interesting telephone calls ensued, two of which were particularly important. Both were from the Air Defence Staff of the Leningrad region. The first call was from General Kremenchuk, who stated that the information in the article was totally untrue. Had it been true, he explained, he would have learned about it. He promised to call the Air Defence division in the Mary region and find out if there was any factual basis for the story, asking me to phone him the following week. I did so.

General Kremenchuk informed me not only that the Air Defence division had no record of any incidents connected with UFOs or crashed aircraft, but that there was no one in the service by the name of Colonel Kurkchy.

The next call came from a lieutenant-colonel under General Kremenchuk, who also promised to try to obtain some information, but added that he did not believe that such an incident could have taken place.

A few days later I called him back. Although unable to confirm or deny the information contained in my article, he told me that Colonel Kurkchy did in fact exist and was now commander of the Air Defence division in the large island of Novaya Zemlya (New Land). This northern territory has the second largest proving ground for nuclear weapons in the CIS, and because it is off limits to civilians, it was impossible for me to get an interview with Kurkchy.

I should add that if military personnel are required to remain silent about top-secret matters, the KGB compel such personnel to sign an official document which includes a warning that in the event of the security oath being broken, they will be executed without any preliminary judicial inquiry. A retired KGB officer told me recently that there existed (in 1991, at least) a specially trained KGB unit whose task was to relocate those likely to break their security oath.

Let me conclude by reaffirming my conviction that the UFO question, seen in the light of extraterrestrials visiting Earth, is our government's most secret problem. It is known for a fact that many civilian and military scientists are directly involved in the study of UFOs but, for the most part, their findings are kept secret. In my opinion, they should be allowed to speak openly about it. It is a crime to insist on concealment: we have a duty as citizens of Earth to contravene the regulations. I am totally convinced that if we were to act openly and quickly, it would be impossible for government agencies to harm those who break their security oaths.