Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of “serious consequences” after one of its warplanes was shot down by Turkey near the Syrian border on Tuesday.
Turkish authoritites claim the jet had violated its air space and they had warned the jet 10 times but failed to get a response, so shot it down.
It’s one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plane had been attacked when it was 1 km (0.62 mile) inside Syria and said the attack was a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists”.
“We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today,” Putin said.
In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Turkey said it had shot down the jet while in Turkish air space. Along with a second plane, the aircraft had flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, despite being warned 10 times in five minutes while approaching to change direction, the letter said.
“Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
In condemnation of Russian air strikes in Syria, during which Turkish air space has been violated several times in recent weeks, Erdogan said that only Turkey’s “cool-headedness” had prevented worse incidents in the past.
Each country summoned a diplomatic representative of the other.
U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande, meeting in Washington, urged against an escalation, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey.
There are mixed reports as to whether the pilots on board the Russian plane survived the attack.
Turkey claims both survived after ejecting from the plane while Russia says one of the pilots died.