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Putin Blasts Turkey, U.S., NATO for Backing ISIS by Downing of Russian Plane

Nov. 24, 2015 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking today to the press immediately prior to a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah in Sochi, Russia, delivered a severe warning to those behind today’s downing of the Russian Su-24 by Turkish fighter jets. Putin described the incident as "a stab in the back delivered by terrorist accomplices," and asked: "Do they want NATO to serve the interests of ISIS?" He warned that Russia "will never turn a blind eye to such crimes as the one that was committed today."

Major excerpts of Putin’s remarks follow:

"This event goes beyond regular efforts to combat terrorism. Our servicemen are engaged in a heroic fight against terrorism, not sparing themselves or their own lives. However, today’s loss is a result of a stab in the back delivered by terrorists’ accomplices. There is no other way I can qualify what happened today.

"Our aircraft was shot down over Syrian territory by an air-to-air missile launched from a Turkish F-16 plane. It fell on Syrian territory, four kilometers from the Turkish border. When it was attacked in the air, it was flying at an altitude of 6,000 metres, one kilometer away from the Turkish territory. In any case, our plane and our pilots were in no way a threat to the Turkish Republic in any way. This is obvious...

"We have long been recording the movement of a large amount of oil and petroleum products to Turkey from ISIS-occupied territories. This explains the significant funding the terrorists are receiving. Now they are stabbing us in the back by hitting our planes that are fighting terrorism. This is happening despite the agreement we have signed with our American partners to prevent air incidents, and, as you know, Turkey is among those who are supposed to be fighting terrorism within the American coalition.

"If ISIS is making so much money—we are talking about tens or maybe even hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in oil trade and they are supported by the armed forces of an entire state, it is clear why they are being so daring and impudent, why they are killing people in such gruesome ways, why they are committing terrorist attacks all over the world, including in the heart of Europe...

"Today’s tragic event will have significant consequences for Russian-Turkish relations. We have always treated Turkey not merely as a close neighbor, but as a friendly state. I do not know who benefits from what has happened today. We certainly do not. Moreover, instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know Turkey turned to its NATO partners to discuss this incident. As if we had hit their plane and not the other way around.

"Do they wish to make NATO serve ISIS? I know that every state has its regional interests, and we always respect those. However, we will never turn a blind eye to such crimes as the one that was committed today."