Russian jet was avoiding air defense system when it entered Turkish airspace in October - Air Force

© Mikhail Voskresensky
A Russian fighter jet was forced to enter Turkish airspace in early October while performing an evasive maneuver against a surface-to-air missile system, the commander of Russia’s Air Force said.

“Our fighter jet was on a combat mission in Northern Syria in very dense cloud conditions. When the aircraft was passing along the Turkish border, the onboard equipment set off an alarm indicating the plane was being targeted by some kind of air defense system,” Commander-in-Chief Viktor Bondarev told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.

“The pilot had to take a split-second decision to perform an anti-missile maneuver. Well, [the plane] went a little bit into Turkish airspace. We acknowledged it frankly,” Bondarev added.

On October 3, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet had violated Turkish airspace for several seconds due to unfavorable weather conditions. Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said at the time: “There is no tension between Turkey and Russia in this sense. This was a mistake, they respect Turkey's borders and this will not happen again.”

READ MORE: Turkey says ‘no tension’ after Russian airspace violation mistake, NATO cries foul

The incident with the Russian jet was used to include NATO in the media war against Moscow's anti-terror operation in Syria, Aleksandr Grushko, Russia’s envoy to the Western military alliance, said at the time.

NATO ignored all clarifications from Russia about the plane incident, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg describing the situation as "unacceptable violations of Turkish airspace."

"The impression is that the incident in Turkish airspace was used in order to include NATO as an organization into the information campaign unleashed in the West, which perverts and distorts the purposes of the operation conducted by the Russian air forces in Syria," Grushko said.

"Similar incidents are clarified through bilateral or military channels," Grushko said. "This is common practice.”

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