BRUSSELS, November 24//TASS/. Sheltering itself behind NATO solidarity, Ankara forced the Alliance to justify the downing of a Russian Su-24 warplane, Russia’s NATO Ambassador Alexander Grushko said on Tuesday commenting on the results of a meeting of the NATO Council convened at the Turkish initiative in connection with the Turkey’s attack on the Russian plane.
"Today’s meeting of the NATO Council could have become the moment of truth for the Alliance, as one of its key allies shot down a Russian plane taking part in an international effort to fight terrorism. However, the moment of truth failed to happen," Grushko said.
"The statement of the NATO secretary general has not a scintilla of denunciation of a Turkish attack on a Russian warplane that posed no threat for Turkey’s security and was flying in the airspace of Syria," Russia’s NATO ambassador said.
"No words of sympathy or regret in connection with the death of Russian pilots on a duty in fight against terrorism were said. However, it once again pointed to allegedly dangerous military activity of the Russian Aerospace Troops," he added.
"In essence, Ankara has achieved its aim - sheltering itself behind the proverbial allied solidarity, it forced the Alliance into excusing its illegal action, which not only undermines common effort in fight against Islamic State /banned in Russia/, but has also created risks for security of the countries under allied obligations with Turkey," he continued.
"This has once again confirmed that NATO is guided not by principles that its representatives are so fond of speculating about, but by those of political expedience. And this fact can hardly be disguised under outwardly politically correct appeals to ‘composure and de-escalation’," the NATO ambassador said.
"This ‘shadow play’ looks especially strange against the background of the recently passed resolution 2249 of the UN Security Council which directly commits the states to fight against the threat of terrorism by all means," Grushko said in comments on the results of the meeting.
"As for appeals to greater transparency and predictability in military activity of Russia and NATO, they remain undecided. It was the NATO decision to break off military contacts, and it is doing nothing in practice to restore them," he added.
A Sukhoi Su-24 bomber of Russia’s Aerospace Forces was on Tuesday downed by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet when the Russian plane was at an altitude of 6,000 meters 1 kilometer away from Turkey’s border.
The Russian Defense Ministry specified that the Su-24 was downed when it was returning to the Khmeimim airbase in Syria.
"Objective control data analysis unambiguously showed that there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace," the ministry said. However, Turkey’s General Staff claims that the Turkish fighter jet shot down a plane that violated the country’s airspace. A statement circulated by the Turkish military says the plane’s crew received 10 warnings for five minutes.
NATO has supported Turkey, saying it has the right to protect its territory, but urged all necessary moves to avoid confrontation over the accident.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Ankara’s attack against the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 plane, which took part in Russia’s antiterrorism operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey, was a "stab in Russia’s back" delivered by terrorists’ accomplices.
Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.