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No war with Turkey over jet downing, says Russian FM

MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign minister on Wednesday said the downing of its fighter jet by Turkey appeared to be a “planned provocation” but said the countries would not go to war over the incident.“We have serious doubts about this being an unpremeditated act, it really looks like a planned provocation,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow after speaking with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“We do not plan to go to war with Turkey, our attitude toward the Turkish people has not changed,” Lavrov added, stressing that Moscow would however “seriously reevaluate” its ties with Ankara.

“Such attacks are absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

Russian authorities reacted furiously to the downing of the Russian Su-24 warplane on the Syrian border on Tuesday, with President Vladimir Putin calling it a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists”.

Meanwhile Turkey’s military said the fighter was shot down by two of its F-16s after it violated Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period.

The Turkish Ambassador to the United Nations Halit Cevik said in a letter to the Security Council that two Russian planes had flown a little more than a mile into Turkish airspace for 17 seconds.

Ankara and Moscow are already on rival sides in the Syrian civil war that has lasted over four years, with Turkey wanting to see the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Russia remains one of his last remaining allies.

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