Putin: Turkish downing of Russian plane 'a betrayal by a friend'

The Russian leader confirms military activity close to the Turkish border intensified after the downing of the plane.

By REUTERS
November 27, 2015 05:43
2 minute read.
Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Russia will keep cooperating with the United States and its partners to fight Islamic State in Syria, but that cooperation will be in jeopardy if there are any repeats of Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet, Russia's Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

Speaking after talks in the Kremlin with French President Francois Hollande, Putin voiced lingering anger at Turkey's actions, saying he viewed the downing of the jet as an act of betrayal by a country Moscow had thought was its friend.

"(There are) technical means of protection from the rocket assault, including thermal guard - specialists know how it is done. We did not do any of these, I will repeat, because we thought Turkey was a friendly state and simply did not expect any attacks on this side. This is why we consider this hit treacherous," Putin said, commenting on the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish forces earlier this week.

The Russian leader said, under the cooperation already established with the US-led coalition, Russia's military had passed on details of the flight plan of the jet that was shot down this week.

"We had informed our American colleagues in advance about where, when and on which echelons our pilots will work. The American side, which heads the coalition in which Turkey takes part, knew about the time and the place where our planes were. And it was there and then that we got hit. Why did we pass this information to the Americans? Either they were not controlling what their allies were doing, or they are leaking this information all over the place," Putin said.

However he said Russia is still ready to cooperate.

"We are ready to cooperate with the coalition which is led by the United States. But of course incidents like the destruction of our aircraft and the deaths of our servicemen - a pilot and a marine who hurried to rescue his fellow fighting comrades - are absolutely unacceptable," Putin said, adding that otherwise Russia 'will have no need of cooperation with any country'.

The Russian leader also confirmed that military activity close to the Turkish border intensified after the downing of the plane.

"Yes, it is true, Syrian armed forces using the multiple launch missile systems that we have recently supplied for Syrian army in coordination with the actions of our aviation reinforced strikes on this territory right after we got trustworthy information that one of the servicemen was killed and the other one we managed to rescue," Putin said.

The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russia was still awaiting a reasonable answer from Ankara as to why it downed a Russian fighter jet, adding that it is not considering sanctions against Turkey or imposing a food import embargo.

Russia sent an advanced missile system to Syria on Wednesday (November 25) to protect its jets operating there and pledged its air force would keep flying missions near Turkish air space.


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