The tensions that resulted after Turkey shot down a Russia warplane in its airspace last week are becoming more and more worrisome day by day, with Russian President Vladimir Putin warning NATO of “serious consequences.”
And by arming its warplanes with air-to-air missiles, Russia “will further complicate an already difficult situation in the skies over Syria and do nothing to further the fight against ISIL [aka ISIS, Islamic State] as they have no air force,” Pentagon spokesperson Michelle Baldanza told ITAR-TASS on Monday
Baldanza said the U.S. warns Russia against directing the missiles against aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition, and asks Putin to abide by the Memorandum of Understanding regarding flight safety.
The warnings form the Pentagon come immediately after Russia announced on Monday equipping its Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers, aka Fullback, with short-and medium-range air-to-air missiles. This is the first time such an upgrade is performed on the Su-34 fighters, while Moscow plans to test the missiles in Syrian airspace.
“The Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers today have for the first time taken on combat mission not only the OFAB-500 air bombs and KAB-500 guided bombs, but also short-and medium-range air-to-air missiles. The planes are equipped with missiles for their defense,” spokesman for the Russian Aerospace Forces Colonel Igor Klimov said. The missiles are reportedly capable of hitting targets up to 37 miles.
The move comes just one week after a Russian Su-24 fighter jet was brought down by two Turkish F-16 jets. The incident has already been named the most alarming military incident between a NATO member state and Russia in over 50 years.
Russia is prepared for military confrontation with NATO
The air-to-air missiles on Russia’s Su-34 warplanes will supplement the recently deployed to Syria state-of-the-art S-400 missile systems. ValueWalk reported Moscow’s announcement of deploying the S-400 systems to the Russian Hemeimeem air base near Latakia, which is about 30 miles away from the Turkish border, just a day after the jet was shot down by the Turkish military.
The Russia’s bomber was shot down by Turkey in Turkish airspace in the morning of Tuesday, November 24. Turkey said its military issued 10 warnings in 5 minutes to the Russian jet, but it ignored all the warnings and the two F-16 jets were sent to destroy the warplane.
The Russian Defense Ministry then claimed its warplane never intruded Turkish airspace, and was flying over the Syrian territory.
Both the air-to-air missiles-equipped Su-34 bombers and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems are a clear message to NATO that Russia is now prepared to give immediate military response in case a similar incident ever occurs in the future.
“They are following through on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s orders from last week that all sorties will be escorted with air-to-air capable jets,” Boris Zilberman, a Russia expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington, DC-based think tank, told Business Insider.
“The message remains as it was last week from Putin: We won’t let it happen again,” Zilberman said.
Putin says Turkey shot down Russian jet to protect its oil trade with ISIS
Turkey has refused to apologize for shooting down the Russian jet, insisting that it violated Turkish airspace and was warned repeatedly prior to being brought down by the two Turkish jets.
Moreover, Putin has accused Turkey of shooting down the Russian warplane to protect its alleged oil trade with ISIS, according to RT.
Speaking at the climate summit currently taking place in Paris on Monday, Putin called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to authorize shooting down the plane a “huge mistake.”
Putin claims he has received additional intelligence that confirms oil from ISIS-held deposits is transferred through Turkey on “an industrial scale.” Erdogan denied the claims and said he will resign if the information is confirmed.
“At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale,” Putin said at the summit.
Putin added that Russia has “every reason to believe” that the decision to authorize the downing of the Russian plane was motivated by a desire to ensure security of illegal oil delivery routes to ports where oil is shipped on an industrial scale.
Russian officials feeding Putin with ideas on starting nuclear war with NATO
Turkey has repeatedly denied any ties to ISIS, while the NATO member state takes part in the U.S.-led coalition, which carries out airstrikes against the terror group in Syria.
Speaking after Putin at the summit in Paris, Erdogan said he will resign if there is proof of Turkey’s ties to ISIS.
“We are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we’ll consider [it],” he said, as reported by RT. The countries from which Turkey buys oil are “well known,” added Erdogan.
With Putin warning NATO of “serious consequences,” as well as deploying S-400 systems to Syria and equipping his Su-34 warplanes operating in Syria with air-to-air missiles, analysts have every reason to believe that the Russian President is willing to unleash a nuclear war over the incident.
Despite the fact that Turkey is backed by NATO’s 5th Article, which states that an attack on one Ally shall be considered an attack on all NATO members, the chances that Moscow is going to unleash a nuclear war against the Alliance are very “likely,” according to Pavel Felgengauer, Russia’s top defense analyst, as reported by ValueWalk.
It seems that Russian officials are already feeding Putin with ideas on how to start a nuclear war with NATO. A Russian MP has recently proposed a plan how easy it would be for Moscow to destroy Turkey with a nuclear bomb.
“You just chuck one nuclear bomb into the straits, and there’d be a huge flood. The water would rise by 10-15 meters and the whole city would disappear,” said Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the misnamed Liberal Democratic party, as reported by ValueWalk.