Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday morning, the first time a Nato country and Moscow have exchanged direct fire.
Putin has said that an attack was caried out by the accomplices of terrorists. said the plane had been shot down over Syrian airspace and fell 4km inside Syria. Putin said it was “obvious” the plane posed no threat to Turkey.
“Our military is doing heroic work against terrorism … But the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists. I can’t describe it in any other way,” he said. Putin suggested the Turks were shielding Islamic State.
The Turkish military said it scrambled two F-16 fighter jets after a plane entered Turkish airspace in the province of Hatay at 9.20am on Tuesday, warning it to leave 10 times in five minutes before shooting it down.
A government official said: “In line with the military rules of engagement, the Turkish authorities repeatedly warned an unidentified aircraft that they were 15km or less away from the border. The aircraft didn’t heed the warnings and proceeded to fly over Turkey. The Turkish air forces responded by downing the aircraft.”
There werereports that both pilots were killed after parachuting from the jet.
Nato has confirmed it will hold an extraordinary council meeting on Turkey’s request. Here’s its statement:
At the request of Turkey, the North Atlantic Council will hold an extraordinary meeting at 17.00 (Brussels time). The aim of this extraordinary NAC meeting is for Turkey to inform allies about the downing of a Russian airplane. Nato is monitoring the situation closely. We are in close contact with Turkish authorities.
It pointed out that the meeting would not fall under the article 4 of the Washington treatyunder which Nato member discuss a threat to territorial integrity, political indendence or security. A spokesaman said: “The fact that this is not an Article 4 meeting but purely one for information, suggests that Turkey and Nato want to make sure this does not escalate out of control.”