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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 21.11.2018, 20:24

Latvian MFA: shooting down of Russian warplane over Turkey will escalate tensions between NATO and Russia

BC, Riga, 25.11.2015.Print version
The downing of a Russian military aircraft over Turkish territory will certainly escalate the overall tension in relations between NATO and Russia, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told Latvian Television this morning, informs LETA.

The minister admitted that the incident is a serious blow in Turkish-Russian relations. According to the politician, Latvia, as a NATO member, must show solidarity with Turkey, however, he would like to see the two sides sit-down with one another to discuss the situation.

 

Rinkevics reminded that Turkey had on several occasions warned Russia about breaching its airspace and that it has the right to defend its airspace. The activities of the Russia side, by unilaterally carrying out an air campaign on Syrian positions, basically provoked this incident, the politician believes.


 

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis told the LNT television channel this morning that NATO allies are united with Turkey, who had the right to protect its airspace.


He said that there is much evidence regarding breaches of Turkish airspace carried out by Russian military aircraft.


As LETA was informed by Defense Ministry spokesman Kaspars Galkins, the ministry is in full agreement with the comments made by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, that the most important thing at the moment is to de-escalate the situation, and find common solutions to prevent such incident from repeating themselves.


Analyzing this incident, Bergmanis also compared it to what is regularly taking place near Latvian borders when Russian aircraft approach with their transponders turned off and without submitting flight plans. The Turkish example shows the seriousness of such situations, as well as how important it is for countries to exchange information with one another regarding where their aircraft intend to fly.

 

The AFP news agency reports that NATO member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border on Tuesday, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war.

 

The Turkish army said the plane was shot down by two Turkish F-16s after violating Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period.

 

With a major diplomatic crisis looming between two states on opposing sides in the Syria conflict, Russia insisted the jet was all the time inside Syrian airspace and condemned the downing as "a very serious incident".

 

Turkish media said one pilot had been captured by rebel forces in Syria after both ejected by parachute while Syrian opposition sources said one was dead and another missing.

 

Russian fighter jets entered Turkish airspace in two separate incidents in October, prompting Ankara to summon the Russian ambassador twice to protest both violations.

 

The Turkish military in October also shot down a Russian-made drone that had entered its airspace. But Moscow denied the drone belonged to its forces.






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