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No war with Turkey over ‘planned provocation’ jet downing: FM

Moscow: Russia’s foreign minister today said the downing of its fighter jet by Turkey appeared to be a “planned provocation” but said the countries would not go to war over the incident.

“We have serious doubts about this being an unpremeditated act, it really looks like a planned provocation,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow after speaking with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“We do not plan to go to war with Turkey, our attitude toward the Turkish people has not changed,” Lavrov added, stressing that Moscow would however “seriously reevaluate” its ties with Ankara.

“Such attacks are absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

Lavrov also backed a proposal by French President Francois Hollande to close off the Syrian-Turkish border to prevent fighters from flooding into Syria, saying the idea may be raised by Hollande during his visit to Moscow tomorrow.

Russian authorities reacted furiously to the downing of the Russian Su-24 warplane on the Syrian border yesterday, with President Vladimir Putin calling it a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists”.

Ankara and Moscow are already on rival sides in the Syrian civil war that has lasted over four years, with Turkey wanting to see the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Russia remains one of his last remaining allies.

Lavrov yesterday cancelled talks planned with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul today which had been scheduled prior to the plane’s downing.

Both Putin and Lavrov have warned Russian citizens against travelling to Turkey in the aftermath of the incident, citing terrorist threats in the country.

Russia’s top diplomat said today the country was not planning on hosting any Turkish officials nor contemplating making any official visits to Turkey.