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MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Those who seek to harm Russian-Turkish relations may be behind the downing of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft and the assassination of ambassador Andrei Karlov, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual news conference.
"The tragedy that occurred a few days ago, the assassination of Russia’s ambassador, is an attempt to hurt Russia and harm Russian-Turkish relations," the president stressed.
"Frankly speaking, I did not believe that our aircraft was not downed on orders from Turkey’s leadership but some people, who wanted to harm the Russian-Turkish relations, were behind the attack," Putin said. "But now, after our ambassador was killed by a former police officer, I feel I might change my mind. Now it seems to me that everything is possible, some destructive elements could have entered Turkey’s state agencies including law enforcement agencies, and the army as well."
"I don’t think I should put the blame on someone now but we see what is happening," the Russian president went on to say. "Will it damage Russian-Turkish relations? No, it will not because we understand the importance of bilateral ties and we will develop them in every possible way."
"Over the past year we have been able to normalize relations taking into account Turkey’s interests and Russia’s interests as well. I believe we will continue to find compromises in the future," Putin added.