Russia’s defence ministry has announced suspension of military cooperation with Turkey and Sergey Lavrov, foreign minister, has cancelled a planned trip to Turkey following the downing of a Russian warplane near the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday.
The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane was shot down for violating Turkish airspace, angering Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who compared the incident to being “stabbed in the back”.
Russia also warned its citizens not to travel to Turkey, saying it was unsafe, and deployed a warship to the coastline near where the plane crashed.
The plane crashed in Syrian territory in Latakia’s Yamadi village.
Russia has confirmed one of the pilots has died.
A Russian helicopter was also shot at as it took part in the search for the two pilots near the Turkish-Syrian border, opposition groups in Syria said.
Turkey, Russia and their respective allies have entered a war of words after the incident, raising tensions in a region struggling to cope with the ongoing Syrian conflict.
Putin sharply criticised Turkey for establishing contact with NATO to discuss the incident, prior to contacting Russia.
“Today’s loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” Putin said in televised comments.
“Our plane was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell in Syrian territory four kilometres from the border with Turkey. Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey.
“Instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know Turkey turned to its NATO partners to discuss this incident – as if we had hit their plane and not the other way around,” he said.
Credit : Al Jazeera