Europe

Putin: Turkey 'knew downed fighter jet was Russian'

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Media captionPresident Vladimir Putin said it was ''not possible'' the downed plane could not have been identified as a Russian jet

Russia has rejected Turkey's claims that it did not know the plane it shot down on the Syria border was Russian.

President Vladimir Putin said Russian planes were easily identifiable and the jet's flight co-ordinates had been passed on to Turkey's ally, the US.

Turkey's president said earlier if it had known the plane was Russian "maybe we would have warned it differently".

Mr Putin was speaking after meeting his French counterpart and pledging closer co-operation against Islamic State.

IS claimed the 13 November attacks in Paris which killed 130 people.


Analysis: BBC's Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg

Russia and France have agreed to co-operate more closely in fighting terrorism in Syria. The two countries will exchange intelligence on Islamic State - and co-ordinate air strikes.

But differences remain over the fate of the Syrian leader. President Hollande made it clear that Bashar al-Assad could play no role in his country's future. President Putin said that was up to the Syrian people to decide.

And there is no sign of the kind of "grand coalition" against terror that France had been calling for, one that would include America.

Speaking at a news conference after the talks, President Putin even suggested that Turkey had shot down the Russian bomber this week after receiving information about its location from the US.


Two Russian servicemen died after the Russian SU-24 plane crashed into a mountainside on Syrian soil on Tuesday after being hit by a missile from a Turkish F-16 fighter jet.

The Turkish military said it sent several warnings to the jet before firing, some 17 seconds after the plane entered Turkish air space.

A surviving Russian pilot said he had received no such warning and was adamant they did not stray out of Syrian air space.

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Media caption'We need to finish our task'

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected calls by Russia to apologise, saying Turkey does not need to say sorry for the violation of its airspace.

However, he told France 24 television: "If we had known it was a Russian plane, maybe we would have warned it differently".

But Mr Putin insisted it was "impossible" for Turkey not to have known it was shooting at a Russian plane. "It's got insignia, and you can see that very clearly".

He went on: "In advance, in accordance with our agreement with the US, we gave information on where our planes would be working - at what altitude, and in what areas. Turkey is part of that coalition and they had to know it was the Russian airforce working in that area.

"If it was an American aircraft, would they have struck?"

Mr Putin told the news conference he was ready to co-operate more closely with the US-led coalition "but of course incidents like the destruction of our aircraft and the deaths of our servicemen... are absolutely unacceptable".


After Paris: Fight against Islamic State

  • Belgian authorities reduce threat level in Brussels - alert downgraded after week of lockdown that saw schools closed and soldiers deployed
  • Russia prepares sanctions against Turkey - Russia to introduce wide-ranging economic sanctions after Turkey shot down Russian jet
  • Germany to deploy Tornado jets against IS - Angela Merkel pledges reconnaissance jets to help French air campaign against IS in Syria
  • Police in Berlin arrest two suspected Islamists - arrests made and mosque searched in the city's Charlottenburg district in response to an "actual threat"
  • Angela Merkel says Germany will "act quickly" - German chancellor tells Francois Hollande it is country's "duty" to support France's anti-IS fight

Earlier on Thursday, Russia's military suspended all communication channels with the Turkish military, including a "hot line" to help avoid air accidents.

Russia's prime minister also warned the government was planning wide-ranging economic sanctions against Turkey within the coming days.

He warned that food products, Turkish interests in Russia and a number of joint investment projects could be affected.

Russia has also advised its nationals against visiting Turkey, and urged those already there to return home "due to the terrorist threats that remain on Turkish territory".

Turkey and Russia have important economic links. Russia is Turkey's second largest trading partner, while Turkey is the biggest foreign destination for Russian tourists.


Image copyright AFP

Russia's culinary diplomacy

Russia is tightening controls over food imports from Turkey, saying that 15% of the produce does not meet its standards. This is not the first time Russia has used food safety as a means of expressing its anger at a foreign state:

  • Georgia wine - Banned in 2006 citing health risks at the same time as Georgia was revealing a more pro-Western stance and ambitions to join Nato
  • Ukraine chocolate - Confectionary banned in 2013, again citing health standards, as Ukraine sought closer Western ties
  • Western produce - In 2014, destroyed mountains of cheese, bacon, fruit and other produce imported from Western nations in anger at EU-US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis

Russia mixes food and foreign policy