Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at Turkey after the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian plane on Nov. 24.
“I understand each country has its own regional interests, and we have always respected that. But we shall never tolerate crimes like today’s one,” the president said, reported state-affiliated TASS.
Turkey said it gave the plane 10 warnings in five minutes, but the pilots didn’t heed their hails.
Putin, though, said there was no threat to Turkey.
“Our pilots and jet posed no threat to the Turkish Republic. This is obvious. They were conducting an operation against ISIL,” Putin said. Russia recently started launching attacks against the terror group, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State.
Putin says the plane was in Syrian airspace, delivering airstrikes against terrorists who could re-enter Russia at any time.
“Today’s loss is linked with a stab in our back delivered by terrorism accomplices. I can’t characterize otherwise what has happened today,” Putin said, adding that Russia’s intelligence indicates that Turkey supports ISIS by providing them with oil.
Footage from Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV, though, shows the plane going down in an area known by locals as Turkmen Mountain. Officials from Turkey said a second plane was also approaching the border, and that Russia violated Turkish airspace “knowingly.”
The incident has called into question how NATO will work with Russia. “We will certainly carefully analyse what has happened and today’s tragic event will have serious consequences to Russian-Turkish relations,” Putin said.
Each country summoned a diplomatic representative of the other and NATO called a meeting of its ambassadors for Tuesday afternoon, reported Reuters.
A U.S. official said U.S. forces were not involved in the downing of the Russian jet
Both pilots ejected from the plane, but one was reportedly killed by a rebel group while the other is believed to be alive but in rebel hands.
Russia has allied itself with the Syrian government in the war against ISIS, meaning rebel groups are opposed to the country.