DES MOINES (Sputnik) — The Pentagon can confirm that a Russian warplane operating in Syria violated the Turkish airspace on Friday, Department of Defense spokesman Mark Wright said Saturday.
"We are aware of reports and can confirm that yesterday another Russian combat aircraft violated Turkish — and NATO – airspace," Wright told RIA Novosti in a written statement.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Saturday it had summoned the Russian ambassador over an alleged trespass involving a Su-34 frontline bomber that happened the day before. The Russian Defense Ministry denied this or any previous violations.
The Pentagon official voiced support for Ankara, saying the United States and NATO stand in solidarity with Turkey.
"We call on Russia to respect Turkish airspace and cease activities that risk further heightening instability in the region," the statement continued.
Relations between Russia and Turkey have been strained since a Turkish fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft over Syria during a similar incident on November 24. Ankara and Washington claimed the Russian warplane was in the Turkish airspace for a matter of seconds. Moscow said the Russian plane never crossed into Turkish territory.