President Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of being an accomplice of terrorism for shooting down a Russian warplane in Syria and warned of “very serious consequences” for their relations.
“We understand that everyone has their own interests but we won’t allow such crimes to take place,” Putin said at talks Tuesday with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Sochi. “We received a stab in the back from accomplices of terrorism.”
Russia’s warplane was one kilometer (0.6 miles) from the border with Turkey when it was “shot down over Syrian territory” by Turkish F-16 jets firing air-to-air missiles, Putin said. It’s “obvious” that the Russian “pilots and our aircraft in no way threatened the Republic of Turkey” as they carried out an operation against Islamic State, he said.
Putin spoke after Turkey said its military shot down a Russian warplane that violated its airspace near the border with northwestern Syria, roiling global markets and marking the first direct clash between foreign powers embroiled in the civil war. Russia’s Defense Ministry denied the plane had crossed the border. Russia began its bombing campaign in Syria Sept. 30 against Islamic State and other groups battling President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Turkey’s action is the first time in decades that a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member has downed a Russian military aircraft. Ambassadors of the 28 NATO member states are meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Brussels at Turkey’s request to discuss the incident, the military alliance said in a statement.
If we are not extremely careful, and extremely lucky, this is how World War III could begin. Open thread to discuss this.