Turkey’s downing of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet on Tuesday could trigger a nuclear war, warned Senator Rand Paul. After shooting down the Russian plane in Syrian airspace, Turkey held an extraordinary session with NATO members. Tensions between Russia and Turkey are already on the rise as President Vladimir Putin accused Ankara of “stabbing in the back.” Putin warned that there would be serious consequences.
Moscow sends Moskva missile cruiser near Turkey
Following the downing of its Su-24 jet, Moscow has suspended all military cooperation with Ankara. Turkey claims that the warplane violated Turkish airspace, and it had warned the pilots. However, the Kremlin said the plane was in the Syrian airspace during its flight. The Su-24 came down in Syria’s Latakia province. The Kremlin is also sending its Moskva missile cruiser close to the Syrian and Turkish borders. If the situation escalates further, the US and other NATO members will be dragged to fight against Russia.
Rand Paul said the shooting down of the Russian aircraft illustrates why there must be open lines of communication with Moscow. Paul warned that an aggressive US intervention in Syrian civil war would draw it into a full-scale nuclear war with Russia. The Free Syrian Army — which receives funding, training and arms from the US — also shot down a Russian helicopter using US-made anti-tank missiles.
A Russia-Turkey war ‘most likely’
Separately, a top Russian military analyst said a war between Russia and Turkey was “most likely.” Military expert Pavel Felgengauer said Ankara was trying to protect a zone in northern Syria that is controlled by the Turkmens that have close ties with Turkey. Now Moscow will either have to accept this zone or “start a war with Turkey.” Since Ankara has the backing of NATO, Russia cannot win this war without going nuclear, reports the Daily Mirror.
Felgengauer also expressed the possibility of fights between the Russian and Turkish navies. In that scenario, Ankara may shut down the Bosphorus, and NATO countries would join the conflict. The Bosphorus is the only shipping route by which the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet can reach the Mediterranean. In a full-blown war against NATO, Moscow has little chance unless it goes nuclear.