Putin vows to 'immediately destroy' any target threatening Russia in Syria
President Putin says Russian military will respond with full force to any ‘further provocations’ following shooting down of warplane by Turkey last month
Vladimir Putin has vowed Russia’s military will “immediately destroy” any target threatening them in Syria, representing a strong warning to Turkey following its shooting down of a Russian warplane at the Syrian border.
Speaking at a meeting with senior commanders in Moscow, Putin said the military should respond with full force to any “further provocations”, adding that additional aircraft and air defence weapons have been sent to the Russian base near Latakia.
“I order you to act in the toughest way,” the Russian president said. “Any targets threatening the Russian groups of forces or our land infrastructure should be immediately destroyed.”
The downing of the Russian bomber by a Turkish fighter jet on 24 November, the first time a Nato member shot down a Russian plane in more than half a century, has badly strained relations between Moscow and Ankara.
Turkey said it downed the plane after it violated its airspace for 17 seconds despite repeated warnings. Russia has insisted the plane remained in Syrian airspace. Putin denounced the Turkish action as a “treacherous stab in the back”.
Putin said Russian military action in Syria was essential to protect Russia from extremists based there, adding that fending off that threat is the main goal of the air campaign he launched on 30 September. The campaign took advantage of western disarray and galvanised efforts to end the four-and-a-half-year war.
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