Russia on Thursday stepped up its retaliation against Turkey for the shooting down of one of its warplanes by tightening controls over Turkish food imports.
Tensions have soared after Turkish fighter jets shot down the bomber on the Syrian border on Tuesday, leading to the loss of one of two pilots and a soldier who took part in a failed rescue operation, Russia’s first combat losses since the start of its Syria campaign.
Moscow ruled out any military retaliation against NATO-member Turkey but has struck out at its key tourism and agricultural sectors even as officials in Ankara and the West have sought to put a lid on the dispute.
We still have not heard any articulate apologies from Turkey’s highest political level nor any proposals to compensate for the harm and damage nor promises to punish criminals responsible for their crimes.
Putin said at the Kremlin.
Turkey insists its forces repeatedly warned the Russian jet, an assertion backed up by the United States, and Ankara issued what it said was a recording of the communications.
But Moscow says the plane never crossed over the border from Syria, and the rescued pilot said there was no warning before his plane was shot down in flames.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov branded the incident a “planned provocation” while Putin accused Turkey of a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists”.
Turkey’s military clams it did not know the warplane was Russian and that it was ready for “all kinds of cooperation”.
However, the downing raised fears it could fuel a wider geopolitical conflict and highlighted the difficulty of forging consensus on the fate of Syria as Putin prepares to host French President Francois Hollande on Thursday.