Russia presents evidence of alleged ambush by Turkey, asserts right to “military response”

Russia’s air force chief today presented what he considers to be evidence proving the downing of the Russian Su-24M tactical bomber to be an ambush by Turkey, and the speaker of the lower house said that Moscow has the right to make a military response to the incident.

The Turkish F-16 fighter jets scrambled from the airbase in Dyabakyr, as Turkey claimed, would not have been able to reach the missile launch point in time to intercept the Russian jets, Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Viktor Bondarev Bondarev told reporters at a media conference.

“The estimated time of arrival of an F-16 aircraft from the military airfield Dyabakyr from the stand-by position on the ground to the possible place of missile launch constitutes 46 minutes,15 minutes for preparation and take-off, 31 minute – flight time needed to arrive at the firing point,” Bondarev said. “Thus, interception of a Su-24M aircraft from the stand-by position on the ground from the military airfield Dyabakyr is impossible as the necessary time for approaching the target exceeds the minimum time needed for attack by 12 minutes.”

“Objective monitoring data received from the Syrian radar stations confirmed the presence of two F-16’s in the duty zone from 9:11 till 10:26 min, for 1 h 15 min, at the altitude of 2400 metres, that shows that the operation was planned beforehand and the fighters were ready to attack from the air ambush over the territory of Turkey,” he added. “It is to be mentioned that the fighter aircraft stopped maneuvering in the duty zone an headed rapidly to the offset point 1 minute and 40 seconds before the maximum approach of the Su-24M aircraft to the Syrian-Turkish border. The method the F-16 aircraft entered the engagement zone, not by the curve of pursuit shows that it was vectored from the ground.”

“Actions of the Turkish aircraft after launching of missiles over the territory of Syria the wind-down turn with loss of altitude and going under the lower range line of the air defence means – also speaks for the fact that the perfidious crew’s actions were planned beforehand.” Bondarev said. “Objective monitoring data from the Hmeymim airbase and the leader aircraft did not register any request made by the crew of the Turkish aircraft to the Russian pilots on the pre-arranged frequency.”

The air force chief insisted that in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed between the Russian Ministry of Defence and the Department of Defence of the USA on October 23, 2015, the Russian Air Force Command Centre at the Hmeymim airbase had informed representatives of the US Air Force concerning the engagement areas and formations of the pair of Russian Su-24M bombers in advance.

“The Turkish military command has violated all articles and dispositions of the international law that regulates defence of the state border in the air space,” Bondarev said. “It is to be stressed that there were neither apologies, nor offers of help in positioning and evacuation of the downed crew received from the Turkish party after the tragedy happened.”

Meanwhile, the speaker of Russia’s State Duma – the lower house of Parliament – Sergei Naryshkin Russia said that Moscow has the right to make a military response to Turkey’s downing of the Su-24M.

“This is intentional murder of our soldiers and this deed must be punished.” the former KGB officer Naryshkin said in an interview with Romanian television station Digi24. “We know those who did this and they must be judged. At the same time, the response from the Russian side will surely follow, in line with international law. And aside from this, Russia has also the right to military response”

Naryshkin is a member of Russia’s Security Council – Putin’s war cabinet – which also includes Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev, and permanent member of the Security Council Boris Gryzlov.

Putin has a discussion with the Security Council, which, according to a Kremlin press release “focused on the increased tensions around Syria and Turkey’s aggressive and unpredictable action.”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had earlier refused to apologize to Russia insisting that Moscow must first apologize for violating Turkish airspace, but halted air raids against the Islamic Sate in Syrian territory after Russia began deploying S-400 “Triumph” anti-aircraft batteries near the Hmeimim airbase in Syria.

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