Turkey confirmed that it shot down a Russian warplane Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies.
“We are looking into the circumstances of the crash of the Russian jet,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said. “The Ministry of Defense would like to stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.”
President Vladimir Putin called Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet “a stab in the back” carried out by the accomplices of terrorists, saying the incident would have serious consequences for Moscow’s relations with Ankara.
Speaking in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi before a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Putin said the downed plane, which Turkey said it had repeatedly warned, had been attacked inside Syria when it was 1 kilometre from the Turkish border and had come down 4 kilometres inside Syria.
NATO will hold emergency an meeting on Tuesday in Brussels on downing of Russian plane.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman called the downing of a Russian Su-24 warplane in Syria a “very serious incident”, but said it was too early to draw conclusions.
Russia said the Su-24 was downed by artillery fire, but Turkey claimed that its F-16s fired on the Russian plane after it ignored several warnings. The ministry said the pilots parachuted but added that Moscow had no further contact with them.
Video footage of the incident showed a warplane on fire before crashing on a hill and two crew members apparently parachuting safely.
A Turkish military statement said the plane entered Turkish airspace over town of Yaylidag, in Hatay province. It said the plane was warned 10 times within the space of 5 minutes
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the warplane crashed in the Turkmen Mountains region in the coastal province of Latakia.
The Turkomen Mountains region has been subjected to a government offensive in recent days under the cover of Russian airstrikes.
Last month, Turkish jets shot down an unidentified drone that it said had violated Turkey’s airspace.