Putin: We consider the Turkish strike a betrayal
The shooting down by Turkey of a Russian jet was an act of betrayal by a country Russia considered to be its friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday after talks with French leader Francois Hollande.
Putin also said though Russia was still committed to cooperating with the U.S.-led coalition conducting military operations in Syria, and was working to form a broader international coalition that could agree on a way to resolve Syria’s conflict.
Speaking at a news conference in the Kremlin after his talks with Hollande, Putin said their two countries had agreed to enhance their bilateral cooperation over Syria.
He said they would share information on their militaries’ activities and coordinate on what targets to strike.
Coordinating strikes against ISIS
Separately, the two leaders agreed to exchange intelligence on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other militant groups in Syria to help improve the effectiveness of their aerial bombing campaigns in the country, Hollande said.
Putin also said Russia will keep cooperating with the United States and its partners to fight ISIS.
Putin said he would order Russia’s military to intensify cooperation with the French armed forces – including exchanges of information about targets – and viewed that as part of creating a broader international coalition bringing together Russia and Western states.
“We are ready to cooperate with the coalition which is led by the United States. But of course incidents like the destruction of our aircraft and the deaths of our servicemen… are absolutely unacceptable,” Putin said at a news conference, standing alongside Hollande.
“And we proceed from the position that there will be no repeat of this, otherwise we’ll have no need of cooperation with anybody, any coalition, any country.”
He said he and the French leader had “agreed how we will cooperate in the near future, on a bilateral basis and with, as a whole, the coalition led by the United States.
“We are talking about a designation of the territories against which we can conduct strikes, and where it is better to refrain from strikes, about the exchange of information on various issues, and the coordination of our actions on, so to speak, the battlefield,” Putin said.
On bilateral cooperation with France, he said the aim was to “establish constructive work by our military specialists to avoid duplication and avoid strikes on those territories and groups which are themselves ready to fight terrorism.”
“We view this as the formation of a wide anti-terrorist coalition under the aegis of the United Nations,” Putin said.
The Russian leader said, under the cooperation already established with the U.S.-led coalition, Russia’s military had passed on details of the flight plan of the jet that was shot down this week.
“Why did we pass this information to the Americans? Either they were not controlling what their allies were doing, or they are leaking this information all over the place,” Putin said.