US slams leaks as Russia says it knows more
WASHINGTON / MOSCOW
US condemns leaks of any kind, Nuland says of a leak about downed jet. REUTERS photo
The Pentagon has condemned an apparent U.S. leak contradicting Ankara’s version of how one of its jets was shot down by Syria as Russia said it had “unambiguous” proof showing the plane was in Syrian airspace when it was downed.
“We condemn leaks of any kind,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
In Moscow, however, an unnamed Russian military official told Interfax news agency the country had exact positional data to prove that the jet violated Syrian airspace. The Turkish jet “unambiguously” entered Syrian airspace and Moscow had the details of its entire route. “We have data on the exact position of the Turkish air force plane, right up to the moment when it was shot down by the Syrian air defense,” the source told the news agency, according to Agence France-Presse. “This data unambiguously confirms the fact that the plane violated Syrian airspace.”
Nuland, meanwhile, reiterated Washington’s strong support for Turkey. “This data unambiguously confirms the fact that the plane violated Syrian airspace.”
A U.S. official reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that the Turkish plane was downed close to Syria’s shore – a version that contradicts Ankara’s claim that it was hit in international waters. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has rejected the WSJ’s claims and accused the daily of biased journalism.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain John Kirby also commented on the downed jet. “There are still many uncertainties about the incident but it is up to Turkey to make any statement on the issue,” Kirby said, adding that Turkey’s military activity along its border with Syria was not provocative.
While there was no official confirmation from Moscow on the Russian report, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on the weekend that Russia had information about the plane’s position and was prepared to share the data. The source quoted by Interfax did not make clear where the information came from, but it said that “we are monitoring the situation through different channels” and that the Russian Armed Forces were capable of analyzing such data.