"This was primarily an assault on Russia and Russian-Turkish relations. Frankly, I used to be skeptical about claims that our jet was shot down [in Syria in November 2015] without an order from Turkey’s top leadership but rather by people who wanted to damage Russian-Turkish ties," Putin said at the annual press conference.
"But the attack on the ambassador by a special operations officer got me thinking: I feel now it is possible that destructive elements could have found their way into social structures, including the law enforcement and the army," he admitted.
"Will this undermine the Russian-Turkish relationship? No, it won’t because we realize the importance of Russian-Turkish ties and will make every effort to deepen them," Putin vowed.