A frame grab taken from footage released by Russia’s Defence Ministry November 26, 2015, shows Russian S-400 defense missile systems (R) driving on the tarmac of Hmeymim airbase in Syria. Reuters/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via Reuters
President Vladimir Putin is fully mobilized to tackle what the Kremlin regards as an unprecedented threat from Turkey following the shooting down of one of its warplanes by a Turkish F-16, the Russian leader’s spokesman said on Saturday.
In comments which underscore how angry the Kremlin still is over the incident, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, called the behavior of the Turkish air force “absolute madness” and said Ankara’s subsequent handling of the crisis had reminded him of the “theater of the absurd.”
“Nobody has the right to traitorously shoot down a Russian plane from behind,” Peskov told Russia’s “News on Saturday” TV program, calling Turkish evidence purporting to show the Russian SU-24 jet had violated Turkish air space “cartoons”.
In another sign of tensions after its shooting down of the Russian plane on Tuesday, which resulted in the death of one of the pilots, Turkey’s foreign ministry advised people on Saturday to postpone all non-urgent travel to Russia.
Peskov said the crisis had prompted Putin, whose ministers are preparing retaliatory economic measures against Turkey, to “mobilize” in the way an army does in tense times.
“The president is mobilized, fully mobilized, mobilized to the extent that circumstances demand,” said Peskov.
“The circumstances are unprecedented. The gauntlet thrown down…