Russia had pondered about staging a war against Turkey when the latter downed its bomber on Nov. 24. The Russian government, however, decided against it for the security of its people. But is the decision final? It still depends on Turkish behavior and actions, said Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev.
In the 20th century, when one country bombed an aircraft of another, “a war is started,” Mr. Medvedev said. Turkey’s downing of the Russian fighter jet “amounts to a direct attack on a foreign state,” he stressed. The action violated all norms of international law and committed, in effect, an act of aggression against Russia, he added. “To use an international legal idiom, they have provided a casus belli, to wit, the grounds for the start of military hostilities,” the prime minister said.
Mr. Medvedev explained that the Russian government decided against war. Russian president Vladimir Putin was the one who decided against it, the prime minister said. “Naturally, in our present life, under current circumstances, a war is the worst option. It is for this reason that the decision has been taken not to respond symmetrically to what has been done by the Turks,” Mr. Medvedev told press on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, Mr. Medvedev said Russia still had to show Turkey that it would be brought to account and held responsible for the downing of the Russian jet. He said that the decision not to stage war against Turkey has no time frames. “It’s clear that renouncing this course will largely depend on the Turkish authorities’ position and their ability to ensure security in their territory,” the prime minister said.
Turkey triggered a terrifying possibility of a World War 3. It is a strong NATO ally, together with 28 other countries, including the United States. The moment that Russia decided to attack it, the Alliance could invoke Article 5 – an attack to one is an attack to all. Russia, too, has powerful allies that will rally behind it – China, Brunei and Iran.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported to Mr. Putin that the black box of the downed jet is already with the Ministry. During a phone conversation with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr. Putin invited British specialists to take part in decoding the data from the flight recorders.
“As I understand, the parametric logger will give us the opportunity to clearly understand the full trajectory of the Su-24 from the location and moment that it took off to the moment it fell – its speed, altitude, all the turns made during the flight,” the president said of the flight recorder.
“Regardless of what we learn, our attitude toward what was done by the Turkish authorities will not change,” Mr. Putin declared. “We treated Turkey not only as a friendly nation but as an ally in the fight against terrorism and nobody expected this treacherous stab in the back,” he said.