Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Turkey's decision to down a Russian warplane near the Syria border a "stab in the back."
Speaking at a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, Putin on Tuesday accepted his condolences on the death of a Russian pilot who was reportedly captured and dead. Putin said the Russian Su-24 jet was shot by a missile from a Turkish jet over Syria about 1 kilometer (just over a half-mile) away from the Turkish border, which he described as a "stab in the back by the terrorists' accomplices."
Putin warned that the incident would have "significant consequences" for its relations with Turkey and criticized Ankara for turning to NATO to discuss the incident instead of first explaining to Russia what happened.
Turkey's private Dogan news agency is quoting a Turkmen commander as saying Turkey brought down the Russian plane after it had dropped a bomb in a Turkmen region of Syria and entered Turkish airspace. He also said rebels shot and killed both Russian pilots who parachuted from the plane after it was shot down.
A U.S. military spokesman says the U.S. heard communication between Turkish and Russian pilots before Turkey shot down the Russian plane.
Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad, told reporters at the Pentagon Tuesday that the U.S. military was "able to hear everything that was going on." Asked whether he could confirm that Turkish pilots issued 10 verbal warnings to the Russian pilots and that the Russians did not respond, Warren said, "Yes." He did not elaborate.
Asked whether the U.S. could determine from radar images whether the Russian plane had entered Turkish airspace, Warren said the U.S. was still gathering information. Warren said: "We need a little time to work all that out." He said it was not immediately clear on which side of the border the Russian planes were flying.