Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the downing of a Russian jet on the Turkey-Syria border saying it was an act committed by “accomplices of terrorists”.
He described the attack, on Friday evening (NZ and AEST), as a “stab in the back” by Turkey.
Turkey, though, says its jets shot at the Su-24 plane after warning 10 times within five minutes that it was violating Turkish airspace. Moscow says it never strayed from Syrian airspace and was hit by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 while it was flying.
It is the first time a Russian aircraft has crashed in Syria since Moscow launched air strikes against militants fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in late September.
Nato, of which Turkey is a member, is holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss the incident.
Nato Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, says allied assessment of the incident shows that the Russia warplane did fly into Turkish airspace.
According to the BBC US President Barack Obama has responded to the incident by saying Turkey has a right to defend its territory and airspace. He also pointed to ongoing concerns about Russia’s military operations in Syria.
He said it was important to “discourage any kind of escalation.