Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday (November 25) Russia did not intend to wage a war against Turkey after its air force shot down a Russian jet near the Turkish border with Syria.
“We do not intend to wage a war on Turkey. Our attitude to the Turkish people has not changed. We have questions over the action of Turkey’s current leadership,” Lavrov told a news conference.
Lavrov, who cancelled a trip to Istanbul scheduled for Wednesday, said Russia viewed the downing as a planned act and Moscow would “seriously reassess” its relations with Ankara.
“In relation with the current status of our relations, those agreements we signed with the Turkish government, which sits in Ankara now – of course as the President (Vladimir Putin) said, we will seriously reassess and rethink everything that is happening in our bilateral ties, in light of the attack that was carried out against our plane,” said Lavrov.
“We have serious doubts that this act was unintentional. It looks very much like a preplanned provocation,” added Lavrov.
When asked if future talks were being prepared, Lavrov said there were no plans to send any officials to Turkey and that Moscow did not plan to host any Turkish visits.
A Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday Lavrov and his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu had agreed to meet in the coming days, a statement later denied by Moscow.
It was not immediately clear whether Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s planned visit to Moscow on Dec. 15 would be cancelled.
Russia sent an advanced missile system to Syria on Wednesday to protect its jets operating there and pledged its air force would keep flying missions near Turkish air space.
The downing of the jet on Tuesday (November 24) was one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member and Russia for half a century, and further complicated international efforts to battle Islamic State militants in Syria.
Russian officials expressed fury over Turkey’s actions, and spoke of retaliatory measures that were likely to include curbing travel by Russian tourists to Turkish resorts and some restrictions on trade.
But the Russian response was also carefully calibrated. There was no sign Russia wanted a military escalation, or to jeopardize its main objective in the region: to rally international support for its view on how the conflict in Syria should be resolved.
The dispatch of the weapons, which officials later said would be the S-400 missile system, is likely to be viewed as a stark warning to Turkey not to try to shoot down any more Russian planes.
Russian forces launched a heavy bombardment against insurgent-held areas in Syria’s Latakia province on Wednesday, near where the warplane was shot down, rebels and a monitoring group said.
The Russian Su-24 jet downed on Tuesday was hit by missile fire from Turkish aircraft as it flew a mission over Syria near the Turkish border, where the Russian air force has been bombing rebel targets.
Turkey said the plane had encroached on Turkish air space and was warned repeatedly to change course, but Russian officials said the plane was at no time over Turkey.