NATO warns Russia after warplane enters Turkish airspace

The New York Times reports: NATO officials issued a warning to Russia on Monday, and the United States began what officials called urgent consultations with Turkey, after Turkish fighter jets intercepted a Russian warplane that entered its airspace over the weekend.

Russia’s actions were “an unacceptable violation” of Turkish airspace, NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said after meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, Feridun Sinirlioglu. Mr. Stoltenberg added, “Russia’s actions are not contributing to the security and stability of the region.”

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, speaking in Madrid during a news conference with his Spanish counterpart, said that American officials were conferring with Turkish counterparts over next steps.

“I don’t believe this was an accident,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to comment publicly. [Continue reading…]

McClatchy reports: A Russian warplane on a bombing run in Syria flew within five miles of the Turkish border and may have crossed into Turkey’s air space, Turkish and U.S. officials said Sunday.

The incident raises new concerns that Russia’s armed intervention in Syria could spill over to neighboring countries, lead to an unintended military confrontation and trigger an even bigger regional conflict.

A Turkish security official said Turkish radar locked onto the Russian aircraft as it was bombing early Friday in al Yamdiyyah, a Syrian village directly on the Turkish border. He said Turkish fighter jets would have attacked had it crossed into Turkish airspace.

But a U.S. military official suggested the incident had come close to sparking an armed confrontation. Reading from a report, he said the Russian aircraft had violated Turkish air space by five miles and that Turkish jets had scrambled, but that the Russian aircraft had returned to Syrian airspace before they could respond. [Continue reading…]

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