Turkey Downing of Russian Warplane ‘Stab in the Back’: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday described the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkey as “a stab in the back” committed by "accomplices of terrorists".
"I understand each country has its own regional interests, and we have always respected that. But we shall never tolerate crimes like today's one," the Russian President said.
Putin said the Su-24 warplane was hit by air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 plane while it was flying over Syrian territory at a distance of 1 km. from the border with Turkey.
He also said the plane was flying above Syria’s northern Lattakia province where Islamic militants coming from Russia are concentrated, according to TASS.
"Our pilots and jet posed no threat to the Turkish Republic. This is obvious. They were conducting an operation against ISIL," Putin said, using another name for the Islamic State group.
The Su-24 fighter-bomber ventured into Turkey’s airspace, according to the Turkish military. They also say the Russian jet was warned 10 times within five minutes that it was violating Turkish airspace before it was engaged.
Russia's Defence Ministry says the plane stayed on the Syrian side of the border.
The two-man crew is believed to have ejected before the jet crashed in Syria’s Latakia province, but Syrian rebels claim at least one of the pilots was dead.
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