MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 jet crashed in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plane was downed over Syrian territory by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet, and fell 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Turkish border. Putin described the Turkish attack as a "stab in the back" carried out by "accomplices of terrorists."
"It’s not a case of violation of the Turkish airspace. Either voluntary or involuntary. At speeds with which such planes fly, any entry and exit into the airspace of a neighboring country would have been just seconds. A much shorter time than it takes for the Turkish fighters in this case to be scrambled, take off and shoot down the Russian plane," Vladimir Chizhov told Wednesday the Euronews broadcaster.
Russia is not preparing an aggressive military response to the downing of Su-24, but will enhance protection of Russian aviation in order to prevent further provocations, the envoy said.
"Of course, on the military side, we are not going to declare war on Turkey. But further operations of the Russian air force in Syria will be more heavily protected," Chizhov clarified.
He also stressed that "this provocative action by the Turkish side will certainly impact in a negative way our bilateral relations" while a recommendation for tourists to refrain from going to Turkey issued by the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism on Tuesday was "guided primarily by the concerns of Russian citizens."
One of the two Su-24 pilots was killed by fire from the ground after ejecting from the plane and a Russian naval infantry soldier was killed during the rescue operation.