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Top diplomat: no need for joint with NATO probe into downing of Russian warplane

November 25, 2015, 6:54 updated at: November 25, 2015, 7:58 UTC+3
No objectiveness should be expected from NATO in its stance on the incident, he also said
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© Yurij Mashkov/TASS

NEW YORK, November 25. /TASS/.Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller met on Tuesday in New York to discuss the situation with the Russian Su-24 bomber shot down by a Turkish warplane.

"It seems to me that the seriousness of what happened and inadmissibility of such incidents is obvious to the American side," Ryabkov said.

He said that Russia and the United States carrying out operations against terrorists in Syria had signed a document to avert mid-air incidents. "This document lets our military exchange information with American colleagues," he explained. He said Russia proceeded from the fact that the document also applied to other participants in the US led coalition against banned in Russia Islamic State, including Turkey.

He said that prior to that, all agreements of that kind had been established on a bilateral basis between the states, and there was no sense in signing an analogous document with NATO. "If NATO as organization, an alliance, is now shaping a position in favor of some collective, multilateral document, generally speaking we will regard it as invention of bicycle," he said.

He said Russia had repeatedly offered NATO to exchange information among centers opened in some capitals. He said in the operation against IS and other groups in Syria, western countries were declining such cooperation "for political motives," which "objectively reduces their own possibilities for the implementation of the stated antiterrorist goals".

Ryabkov said he saw no need in a multilateral probe into the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber. "I believe that what was said authoritatively, in detail and with concrete facts at a briefing at the Defense Ministry shows that our military have established the circumstances that led to the hitting of our plane," he said.

The top diplomat called the situation "very alarming" in the light of the latest developments. He also said no objectiveness should be expected from NATO in its stance on the incident. "The side of Turkey as an ally will be taken knowingly," he said.

He also drew attention to the fact that Ankara was "circulating with all its might the version of alleged numerous warnings to our crew," while previously it said "an unidentified plane with unidentified nationality" had been attacked.

Ryabkov also said Turkey’s appeal to NATO for an emergency session over the incident looked "strange to say the least" "as if it was not our plane that had been shot down, but we had downed a plane of Turkey, a NATO member country".

The Russian Defense Ministry 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, and said the jet was returning to the Hmeymim 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. 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 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.

Russia and Turkey on Tuesday sent letters to the UN Security Council in connection with the incident.


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