Moscow: President Vladimir Putin warned Ankara today that Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border would have “serious consequences” for bilateral ties. Speaking at a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Sochi, a tense-looking Putin branded the shooting down of the aircraft a “stab in the back” by “accomplices of terrorists.
“I cannot call what happened today anything else.” “Today’s tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations,” Putin said. “We will of course carefully analyse everything that happened.”
The fighter jet was shot down today on the Syrian border by two Turkish F-16s warplanes. Ankara claimed it had violated Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period. Moscow said the fate of the aircraft’s two pilots was still unclear, while Syrian opposition sources said one pilot was dead and another missing.
Putin rejected the accusations that the Russian plane running sorties in Syria had violated Turkish airspace, saying it did not pose any threat to Turkey. “Our plane was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell in Syrian territory four kilometres from the border with Turkey,” Putin said.
“Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey.” Putin stressed that NATO-member Turkey, which is a member of a US-lead coalition bombing the Islamic State group, shot down the plane despite Moscow’s existing agreement with the United States to avoid such incidents.
“We will never tolerate such crimes,” Putin said. “Of course we expect the global community to find the strength to unite against common evil.” The ministry in Moscow summoned the Turkish military attache over the incident, the Turkish embassy in the Russian capital told AFP.