As tensions build between Turkey and Russia following the destruction of a Russian warplane by Turkish F-16s Tuesday morning, Russian state outlet RT.com reports that a missile cruiser has been deployed off the Syrian coast, with orders to “destroy any target posing danger.”
Because the Russians have accused the Turks of chasing their fighter into Syrian airspace to shoot it down, the Syrian air force is on Russia’s side, and none of the Syrian rebel groups or terrorist organizations has an air force, this message of destruction seems to be directed at Turkey. The Russians continue to insist their plane did not violate Turkish airspace, and they claim it was not warned by the Turks before they opened fire, contrary to both Turkish and American reports.
The Russians had previously announced their missile cruiser Moskva would cooperate with French military operations in Syria, following the Paris terror attacks launched by ISIS.
RT.com also reports that Russia is “beefing up” security at its air base in Syria and has suspended military cooperation with Turkey.
According to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance will “stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally.” Stoltenberg said Moscow has not contacted NATO to discuss the incident as of yet.
On the other hand, the Syrian government is unsurprisingly supporting Russia. “Reckless acts of aggression will only strengthen our determination to continue the fight against terrorists with the assistance of our friends, especially Russia,” declared a statement from the Syrian general staff.