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MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. The Turkish official’s statement indicating awareness of the number of sorties flown by Russian aircraft in Syria can be regarded as "the official acknowledgement" of the pre-planned operation to destroy Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24M warplane, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.
He recalled that Turkish media had published a statement citing government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus, which provided accurate data on the number of sorties flown by Russian aircraft in Syria.
"This confirms the fact that all information, which we transfer to the American side within the framework of the memorandum, has surely been handed over by the U.S. Air Force command to Turkey’s General Staff," Konashenkov said.
"Thus, on November 24, when a Turkish fighter jet treacherously attacked our Su-24 bomber with a missile, Turkey’s General Staff was well aware of the time and the area where a pair of Russian bombers would carry out a combat task," he noted.
According to him, the Turkish official’s statement "may be regarded as a formal acknowledgement by Turkey of the pre-planned operation to destroy the Russian aircraft in the sky over Syria and kill the Russian military servicemen," Konashenkov said.
The Russian Su-24M bomber was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet over Syrian territory on November 24. One of the pilots died, another was rescued. In addition to that, a Mi-8 helicopter was lost during the operation to evacuate the crew and a marine contractor was killed. Ankara claimed that the Russian aircraft had violated Turkey’s airspace, but the Russian Defense Ministry has refuted the allegations.