MOSCOW, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday described Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian fighter jet a “hostile act” during a mass press conference in Moscow.
Putin criticized Turkey’s management of last month’s incident by turning to the West for help, saying it had “run to Brussels.” The Russian president also hinted at further sanctions being levied against Turkey
Russia and Turkey have disagreed on the circumstances of the downing of the SU-24 fighter jet on Nov. 24. Turkey said it warned the pilot 10 times it was flying over Turkish airspace, and to divert or be shot down; Russia says no warning was received.
The pilot, Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov, was killed, and his body received Orthodox funeral rites and was returned to Russia. Co-pilot Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin was rescued and returned to Russia.
Putin ordered an economic sanction in retaliation, including a ban on importation of some Turkish goods and on Russian tourism to Turkey, an important source of revenue for Turkey.
“I do not see any perspective to normalize relations with Turkey on a inter-governmental level,” Putin said at the annual question-and-answer session with journalists. “We’ll have to go for further sanctions.”
Putin said that he does not know whether the United States had any role in the jet downing.
“Firstly, I do not know whether Americans need it or not … Perhaps there were some agreements at a certain level, that ‘we shoot down a Russian plane and you close your eyes on it,’ and that we, let’s say, enter Iraq and occupy some part of Iraq,” Putin said.
“I do not know, but maybe such exchange did take place, however, we do not know it for sure,” he added.