- Russia warns of ‘serious consequences’ after Nato country downs Russian military jet for first time since 1953
- Two pilots were reportedly shot dead by Syrian rebels as they parachuted from burning Sukhoi Su-24 warplane
- Third Russian said to have died when rescue helicopter was hit with anti-tank missile by another rebel group
- Russia denied plane had been in Turkish airspace but Nato secretary-general says assessment showed it had
- A warship has been deployed to the Mediterranean Sea to destroy potential threats to Russian forces in Syria
- Britain has declared military back-up is on standby to support Turkey in any revenge attack by Putin’s forces
A ‘monstrous’ new crisis has begun after Turkey shot down a Russian military plane, sparking fears of a war.
Vladimir Putin has accused the Turks of a ‘stab in the back’, branding them ‘accomplices of terrorists’.
Russia warned the incident – the first time a Nato country has downed a Russian military jet since 1953 – would have ‘serious consequences’. And a leading Moscow military analyst said war was ‘most likely’.
Putin has broken off any military contact with Turkey in the fight against ISIS and is deploying a warship, with an air defence system, to the Mediterranean Sea. The cruiser will destroy ‘any targets representing a potential danger’ to Russian forces in Syria.
Its defence ministry also said that Russian bombers carrying out airstrikes in Syria will now be escorted by jet fighters.
Britain has already declared that military back-up is on standby to support Turkey in any revenge attack by Putin’s forces. President Barack Obama also pledged America’s support for Turkey following a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
‘I can’t describe it in any other way. We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today.’
Sir Michael Graydon, former head of the RAF, said: ‘It horrifies me that the Russians were stupid enough to fly either that close to the border or violate the border.
‘But of all the tensions in that part of the world was it absolutely necessary to shoot the aircraft down? One aircraft was not going to change the course of history and now it probably will. Shooting down the aircraft has caused a monstrous diplomatic problem.’
One of Moscow’s most respected military analysts said war was ‘most likely’. Pavel Felgenhauer said Turkey was seeking to protect an area in northern Syria controlled by its allies, the Turkmen.
The analyst said Mr Putin must either accept this zone ‘or start a war with Turkey’ which it could win only by going nuclear.
Full article: World leaders scramble to defuse ‘monstrous’ new crisis over Russia’s downed jet: Putin ratchets the tension by dispatching warship to Mediterranean as Moscow expert warns war is ‘likely’ (Daily Mail)