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Attack against Russian Sukhoi-24 was not accidental, says retired general

Russia's Sukhoi Su-24 frontline bomber participating in the Russian air group's operation against the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) in Syria has caused no damage to Turkey's ground infrastructures and it could have by no means pursued such aims, so the attack against it was a deliberate show of muscle, Major General Alexander Tsalko, retired, a member of the non-governmental Foreign and Defense Policy Council, told TASS.

Tsalko, a former military pilot himself, said Turkey was perfectly aware that Russia's air and space group was focused on the ground targets of the Islamic State in Syria and could by no means seek to cause damage to Turkey, Moscow's old-time trading and economic ally.

"Question number one is what weapon was used to shoot down Russia's Sukhoi-24 - an air-to-air missile launched from a Turkish fighter or a ground air defense complex. In contrast to the equipment of a ground air defense complex the fighter plane's screen does not show the state border line clearly enough. Did the Turkish pilot really see that the Russian plane had violated Turkish air space or not? He should've received clear instructions from the ground," Tsalko said.

"At this point it is too early to judge. The Russian Defense Ministry will now study the data from the radars on board the Russian cruiser The Moskva in the Mediterranean and from ground radars to see when exactly the attack against the Sukhoi-24 plane took place. One thing is clear - the attack was not accidental," Tsalko said.

[Source: By Tamara Zamyatina, Itar Tass, Moscow, 24Nov15]

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