Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said the Russian Su-24 warplane, which was attacked one km away from the Syrian border with Turkey and crashed four km away, had not violated Turkey’s airspace.
“When attacked in the air, the plane was flying at an altitude of 6,000 metres, one kilometre away from the Turkish territory,” Putin said as he met with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Russia’s Sochi, Xinhua reported.
He said the plane was shot down by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet in Syrian airspace and the Su-24 fell in Syria four km away from the Turkish border.
“The Russian pilots and the warplane have in no way threatened Turkey. This is obvious,” Putin said, describing the incident as “a stab in the back”.
“This event goes beyond the boundaries of fighting terrorism. It is a stab in the back from accomplices of terrorists,” Putin said, according to live broadcast by Russian 24 TV channel.
Putin said the incident would have serious consequences on Moscow-Ankara relations as “Russia would not tolerate crimes like what happened today”.
Earlier in the day, a Russian Su-24 crashed in Syria “allegedly because of gunfire from the ground”, the Russian Defence Ministry said.
According to the Turkish military, the Su-24 had been warned 10 times in five minutes about its violation of the Turkish airspace before two Turkish F-16 jets “interfered”.
The latest statement released by the Russian Defence Ministry said the Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 jet while returning to Syria’s Hmeimim airbase, where a Russian airforce group for anti-terrorist strikes is located.
Insisting that analysis of readout data showed clearly no violation of the Turkish airspace, the ministry has already summoned the Turkish military attache in Russia.