- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Turkey stabbed Russia in the back and acted as accomplices of terrorists when it downed one of Moscow’s warplanes over Syria on Tuesday.

Russia claimed its Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft was brought down by artillery fire but Turkey says the Russian plane violated its air space and said its F-16s fired on the Russian plane after it ignored several warnings.

But Mr. Putin claimed the Russian plane posed no threat to Turkey and was targeting Islamic State terrorists in the Latakia province of Syria.

“Anyway, our pilots and jet posed no threat to the Turkish Republic. This is obvious. They were conducting an operation against ISIL,” Mr. Putinsaid at the meeting with King Abdallah II of Jordan, according to the Tass state-run news agency.

Mr. Putin called the attack a crime and stresses that Russia would not tolerate it.

“Today’s loss is linked with a stab in our back delivered by terrorism accomplices. I can’t characterize otherwise what has happened today,” Mr. Putin said, according to Tass.

The Russian leader added that it was worrisome that Turkey did not try to contact Russia in the wake of the crash, instead rushing to call a NATO meeting.

Mr. Putin made the comments while speaking with King Abdullah II in Sochi. The Jordanian monarch expressed his condolences to the Russian leader over the loss of a Russian pilot in the crash on Tuesday as well as the deaths of Russians in the Metrojet crash over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula last month.

One of the two pilots of the downed Russian warplane was reported killed by a rebel group as he was parachuting down on the ground after ejecting from the plane. The fate of the second pilot remains unknown.

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