‘WE will never tolerate such crimes,’ Russian President Putin declared yesterday, after Turkish fighter planes shot down a Russian Su-24 on the Syrian border.
Putin said: ‘Today’s loss is a stab in our back delivered by terrorism’s accomplices. ‘I can’t characterise otherwise what has happened today,’ he added. Both Russian pilots ejected but the Deputy Commander of ‘Turkmen Brigade in Syria’, a group affiliated to the ‘Free Syrian Army’, said that his forces shot them dead while they were parachuting down through the air.
This is the first Russian jet shot down by Western forces since the 1950s. ‘Our pilots and jet posed no threat to the Turkish Republic. This is obvious. They were conducting an operation against ISIL,’ Putin said. He stressed the plane was flying above northern Latakia and not violating Turkish airspace.
‘The Russian bomber was shot down over Syria by an air-to-air missile fired from a Turkish F-16, while it was at an altitude of 6,000 metres and at a distance of 1km from the Turkish plane,’ Putin said.
Russia says the incident is too serious to rush to conclusions.
According to Putin, Russia has long been aware of oil supplies to Turkey from Syria’s territories being seized by the terrorists, which have provided them with tangible financial support. Now we’ve suffered a stab in the back – attacks against our planes that are fighting terrorism’.
He pointed out that Turkey attacked Russia’s Sukhoi-24 even though ‘we have signed agreements with the American partners on the prevention of incidents in the air, and Turkey, as is known, is among the countries that have declared they are ostensibly fighting against terrorism within the US-led coalition.
‘The Turkish side applied to its NATO partners to discuss this issue, as far as we know. It is as if we had shot down a Turkish plane and not vice versa,’ the Russian president said. So, does this mean that they want NATO to serve the Islamic State?’ he asked. We will certainly carefully analyse what has happened and today’s tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations,’ he warned.