NATO: diplomacy, calm, de-escalation required to address Su-24 incident
NATO is calling for calm and de-escalation in contacts between Moscow and Ankara regarding the incident with Russia's Sukhoi Su-24 bomber downed by the Turkish Air Force above Syria, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said following an extraordinary meeting of the NATO Council convened on Turkey's initiative.
"I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation. Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation," Stoltenberg said.
A Sukhoi Su-24 bomber of Russia's Aerospace Forces was on Tuesday downed by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet when the Russian plane was at an altitude of 6,000 meters 1 kilometer from Turkey's border. Later the Russian Defense Ministry specified that the Su-24 was downed when it was returning to the Khmeimim airbase in Syria.
"Objective control data analysis unambiguously showed that there was no violation of Turkey's airspace," the ministry said.
However, Turkey's General Staff claims that the Turkish fighter jet shot down a plane that violated the country's airspace. A statement circulated by the Turkish military says the plane's crew received 10 warnings for five minutes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with King of Jordan Abdullah II on Tuesday that Ankara's attack against the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 plane, which took part in Russia's antiterrorism operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey, was a "stab in Russia's back" delivered by terrorists' accomplices.
Russia's Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The air group comprises over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.