Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed President Barack Obama for the loss of its military aircraft Tuesday when Turkish fighter jets shot it down — and he may have a point.
“The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes’ flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time,” Putin said, according to the New York Post.
“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.”
The Post reported:
Putin made the remarks after meeting with French President François Hollande and said Russia will work with France and the US in the fight against ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s defiant president refused to apologize for shooting down the military jet, as Russia’s leaders planned to roll out economic sanctions against the country over the next two days.
“I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told CNN.
“Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to . . . violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence.”
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia will begin sanctions against Turkey, which will include “restrictions and bans on Turkish economic structures operating in Russian territory, restrictions and bans on deliveries of products, including foodstuffs.”
Putin called the attack a “treacherous stab in the back” and dismissed Turkey’s claim that the Sukhoi Su-24 would not have been shot down had they known it was Russian.
“[Our planes] have identification signs and these are well visible,” Putin said.
The Post reported:
Turkish authorities said the two Russian pilots ignored repeated warnings to change course — messages Russia has denied receiving.
Putin has since demanded an apology from Turkey.
But Erdogan stood by his country’s actions, saying he’d do it again. “Faced with the same violation today, Turkey would give the same response,” he said.
Many on social media picked up on Putin’s accusation and found themselves siding with the Russian president. Some wondered if Obama had done something that previous administrations had avoided throughout the Cold War — start World War III.
Putin blames US for downed plane; implies Obama shared location/flight time with Turkey. Russian/US war ahead? https://t.co/8QBsYtwpYr
— Cathy Alterman (@CuriousLemming) November 27, 2015
Sean Hannity, meanwhile, placed the blame at the White House doorstep right after the jet was downed.
There may be something to Putin’s claims. Obama has often been accused of telegraphing military plans to the enemy, including specific dates for troop withdrawals.
In February, the administration announced timing and troop levels to retake Mosul, located in northern Iraq, from Islamic State militants. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, a combat veteran, was appalled.
“It’s very mystifying why this administration would reveal potential plans to retake Mosul.,” the Arkansas Republican said on “The Kelly File” at the time. “If a private in Iraq had revealed this kind of planning inadvertently by leaving a plan in the chow hall or the gym, he might have faced a court marshal but it’s now become a matter of policy that this administration is going to announce war plans in advance. It only increases the risk.”
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