NATO Leadership Has Taken Responsibility for Downing Russia’s Bomber: Russian Envoy

NATO Leadership Has Taken Responsibility for Downing Russia’s Bomber: Russian Envoy
Tue Dec 1, 2015 16:11:54

By refusing to render an opinion on Turkey’s “intentional” downing of Russia’s bomber over Syria, and instead providing Ankara with political backing, NATO’s leadership has taken responsibility for the incident, Russia’s NATO envoy, Aleksandr Grushko, said.

Grushko gave his comments to reporters on Monday after it emerged that he had met with NATO’s Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow to discuss the November 24 incident when a Russian Su-24 bomber was shot down by a Turkish F-16 while striking terrorist positions in Syria.

“Yes, indeed I had talks with Deputy Secretary-General A. Vershbow over the Su-24 incident…. I laid out the Russian assessment of the incident and cited a series of military and political factors which indicate of the intentional nature of the attack on the Russian plane in the Syrian airspace,” Grushko, Russia’s Permanent Representative at NATO, said.

However, Vershbow would not give any assessment of Turkey’s aggressive action, according to the Russian diplomat, and only called for restraint and direct contact between Moscow and Ankara concerning the issue.

The Russian envoy to NATO stressed that Turkey’s decision to down a non-hostile plane in the border region goes against the alliance’s rules of engagement.

In light of this, the absence of any criticism and the fact that Turkey was quick to receive NATO support following the attack means that the block is equally responsible, the diplomat said.

Ankara maintains that the Russian Su-24 bomber violated Turkish airspace for “17 seconds” and was repeatedly warned before an air-to-air missile was fired. However, the surviving Russian pilot, Konstantin Murakhtin, said the crew of two received no radio or visual warning from the F-16, despite it having superior speed and maneuverability than that of the Russian bomber. According to Murakhtin, they had never violated Turkish airspace and the rocket struck out of the blue, leaving them hardly any time to react. Both ejected from the aircraft.

The Russian jet’s commander, later identified as Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, was killed by machine gunfire from a Turkmen rebel group while parachuting to the ground. It has emerged that the militant group is led by a Turkish ultranationalist called Alparslan Çelik, a son of a former mayor of the Keban municipality in Turkey’s Elazig province,RT reported.


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