Putin sends air defense missiles to Syria to deter Turkey

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Turkey Downing of Russian Plane 'a Stab in the Back'


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered state-of-the art air defense missile systems to be deployed at a Russian air base in Syria following the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, a move that raised the threat of a military confrontation between the NATO member and Russia.

The S-400 missile systems, which will be sent to the Hemeimeem air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia, located just about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the border with Turkey, are capable of targeting Turkish jets with deadly precision. If Russia shot down a Turkish plane, NATO would be required to intervene.

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Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber Tuesday, saying it crossed into its airspace from Syria despite repeated warnings. One of its two pilots was killed by militants after bailing out, while his crewmate was rescued by Syrian army commandos and delivered in good condition to the Russian base.

See pictures of the Russian warplane crash in Syria near Turkey's border:

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Russian warplane crashes in Syria near Turkey's border
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Putin sends air defense missiles to Syria to deter Turkey
An image grab made from a video shows a burning Russian fighter jet coming down after being shot down near the Turkish-Syrian border, in Hatay on November 24, 2015. NATO member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border today, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war. AFP PHOTO / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / AFP / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / - (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: Unidentified aircraft goes down in Kizildag region of Turkey's Hatay province, close to the Syrian border, on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft, which went down in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak, belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: Unidentified aircraft goes down in Kizildag region of Turkey's Hatay province, close to the Syrian border, on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft, which went down in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak, belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: A warplane goes down in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak near Turkeys border on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: Unidentified aircraft goes down in Kizildag region of Turkey's Hatay province, close to the Syrian border, on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft, which went down in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak, belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: Unidentified aircraft goes down in Kizildag region of Turkey's Hatay province, close to the Syrian border, on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft, which went down in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak, belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: A warplane goes down in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak near Turkeys border on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: A person parachutes out of a warplane which went down in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak near Turkeys border on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: Smoke rises as the Syrian regime forces attack the region where Russian warplane downed within the framework of engagement rules by Turkey in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak near Turkeys border on November 24, 2015. (Photo by Ramazan Ãzdemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: Smoke rises after a warplane crashed in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak near Turkeys border on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 24: Smoke rises after a warplane crashed in Syria's northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak near Turkeys border on November 24, 2015. It remains unclear to which country the aircraft belongs to. (Photo by Fatih Akta/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Putin said the Russian plane remained in Syria's skies when it was shot down. He described Turkey's action as a "crime" and a "stab in the back," warning of serious consequences.

On Wednesday, Putin ordered the military to deploy the S-400s to Hemeimeem and took other measures that "should be sufficient to ensure flight safety."

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that the Russian missile cruiser Moskva already has moved closer to shore to protect the Russian aircraft flying missions near Syria's border with Turkey with its long-range Fort air defense system.

Military expenditure by country:

Shoigu also said that from now on all Russian bombers will be escorted by fighters on their combat missions in Syria. He said that his ministry has severed all contacts with the Turkish military.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who canceled his planned trip to Turkey after the incident, described the shooting down of the Russian plane as a "planned provocation."

He said the Turkish action came after Russian planes successfully targeted the oil infrastructure used by the Islamic State, alleging that Turkey benefited from the oil trade.

Lavrov also said that Turkish territory was used by "terrorists" to prepare terror attacks in other countries, but offered no details.

He said that Russia "has no intention to go to war with Turkey," but added that Moscow will re-consider its ties with Ankara.

The Russian Foreign Ministry already has warned Russians against traveling to Turkey, and some leading Russian tourist agencies suspended the sales of tour packages to Turkey.

Speaking at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation economy meeting in Istanbul, Erdogan said that Turkey favors "peace, dialogue and diplomacy." He defended his country's move to shoot down the plane saying: "no one should expect Turkey to stay silent to border violations or the violation of its rights."

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also sought to ease tensions, saying that Russia is Turkey's "friend and neighbor" and insisting relations cannot be "sacrificed to accidents of communication."

Davutoglu told his party's lawmakers on Wednesday that Turkey didn't know the nationality of the plane that was brought down on Tuesday until Moscow announced it was Russian.

He again defended Turkey's action, saying Russia was warned on several occasions that Turkey would take action in case its border is violated in line with its military rules of engagement.

Davutoglu also said Russia is an "important partner and tops the list of countries with which we have shown great sensitivity in building ties."

The Turkish prime minister, however, also criticized Russian and Syrian operations in Syria's Turkmen region, saying there is "not one single" presence of the Islamic State group there. Davutoglu demanded that operations there stop immediately.

Associated Press writers Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow, Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.

RELATED: See photos of the Russian-led airstrikes in Syria

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Russian airstrikes in Syria, Putin
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Putin sends air defense missiles to Syria to deter Turkey
ALEPPO, SYRIA - NOVEMBER 03: A Syrian man runs past the rubble of a building destroyed in the Russian airstrikes on the opposition-controlled Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on November 03, 2015. (Photo by Beha el Halebi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - NOVEMBER 03: Syrians search for survivors in the rubble of buildings following the Russian airstrikes on the opposition-controlled Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on November 03, 2015. (Photo by Ibrahim Ebu Leys/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - NOVEMBER 03: Syrians evacuate people from damaged buildings following the Russian airstrikes on the opposition-controlled Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on November 03, 2015. (Photo by Ibrahim Ebu Leys/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - NOVEMBER 03: Syrians evacuate people from damaged buildings following the Russian airstrikes on the opposition-controlled Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on November 03, 2015. (Photo by Ibrahim Ebu Leys/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - OCTOBER 17: Smoke rises from an opposition-controlled residential area in Aleppo, Syria following the Russian airstrikes on October 17, 2015. (Photo by Beha El-Halebi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during a weekly meeting with ministers of the Russian Government in Novo-Ogaryovo State Residence September 30, 2015 outside Moscow, Russia. Vladimir Putin has received permission from Parliament for Russian military forces to launch airstrikes in Syria, two days after the Russian leader spoke to the UN and called for an international coalition against terrorism to fight Islamic State (ISIS). (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to a weekly meeting with ministers of the Russian Government in Novo-Ogaryovo State Residence September 30, 2015 outside Moscow, Russia. Vladimir Putin has received permission from Parliament for Russian military forces to launch airstrikes in Syria, two days after the Russian leader spoke to the UN and called for an international coalition against terrorism to fight Islamic State (ISIS). (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
A picture taken on September 30, 2015 shows damaged buildings and a minaret in the central Syrian town of Talbisseh in the Homs province. Russian warplanes carried out air strikes in three Syrian provinces, including Homs, along with regime aircraft on September 30, according to a Syrian security source. Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported at least 27 civilians had been killed in air strikes in the Homs province, adding that the strikes hit Rastan, Talbisseh and Zaafarani. The other Syrian security source said the Russian strikes had hit Rastan and Talbisseh in the province of Homs. AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD TAHA (Photo credit should read MAHMOUD TAHA/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on September 30, 2015 shows a general view of deserted streets and damaged buildings in the central Syrian town of Talbisseh in the Homs province. Russia confirmed on Septemer 30 that it carried out its first airstrike in Syria, near the city of Homs, marking the formal start of Moscow's military intervention in the 4.5-year-old conflict. AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD TAHA (Photo credit should read MAHMOUD TAHA/AFP/Getty Images)
IDLIB, SYRIA - OCTOBER 01: A damaged vehicle is seen at the site of the alleged Russian airstrikes targeting the training camp of Suqour al-Jabal Brigades in Kafr Nabl town of Idlib, Syria on October 01, 2015. (Photo by Firas Khalife/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IDLIB, SYRIA - OCTOBER 01: The training camp of Suqour al-Jabal Brigades is destroyed in the alleged Russian airstrikes in Kafr Nabl town of Idlib, Syria on October 01, 2015. (Photo by Firas Khalife/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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