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Russia expects NATO to provide explanations over Turkey’s downing Russian jet — lawmaker

November 24, 2015, 20:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Nikolay Levichev notes that for the first time after the end of the Cold War a NATO member state had "deliberately downed" a Russian warplane

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© AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Russian expects NATO to provide explanations over the today’s incident when Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet in Syria, a Russian lawmaker said on Tuesday.

"Turkey is a NATO member and we expect explanations not only from the Turkish authorities but also from the North Atlantic Alliance," Nikolay Levichev, a deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house with the A Just Russia Party, was quoted by the party’s press service as saying.

He noted that for the first time after the end of the Cold War a NATO member state had "deliberately downed" a Russian warplane. "We cannot consider it as anything but an act of aggression. We must response to this attack with adequate but tough measures," he stressed.

Turkey, in his words, has completely associated itself with the Islamic State [a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia] by shooting down a Russian warplane. "Judging by the information coverage of the incident by the Turkish side, it was a deliberate provocation," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Levichev asked the head of the Federal Aviation Agency to consider banning flights to Turkey following Tuesday’s crash of a Russian Su-24 military jet.

"I am asking you to consider total and immediate termination of air communications between Russia and Turkey until exhausting measures are taken to get rid of any possible sources of terrorist threat at Turkish airports," Levichev said.

A Russian Su-24 warplane was downed by an air-to-air missile launched from a Turkish F-16 fighter jet when it was at an altitude of 6,000 meters at a distance on one kilometer from the Turkish border. The Defense Ministry said earlier that pilots had managed to eject from the aircraft. Their whereabouts were being established. Later, the Defense Ministry said the jet had been downed when it was returning to the Hmeymim airbase.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the downed Su-24 was no threat to Turkey as it was on a mission to bomb Islamic State targets. The Russian president warned that attack on the Russian warplane would have "serious consequences" for the Russian-Turkish relations.

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