June 28, 2012

Russian Destroyer Shot Down Turkish Airplane, Turkey's Politician Says

Northern Fleet (NF) destroyer Admiral Chabanenko allegedly shot down Turkish reconnaissance airplane RF-4E taken off airbase Erhach on June 22 and disappeared fr om radars over the Mediterranean Sea next to Syria 1.5 hours later, says Masum Turker, leader of Turkey's Democratic Left Party. That was reported by Latest UK News referring to the politician's statement in the interview to TV8 Channel. However, Central Navy Portal asked Russia's Northern Fleet Press Service to comment the situation; the Navy says Admiral Chabanenko was not deployed off Syria at all.

"There are currently two Russian war ships and a Russian frigate in Latakia harbor", Turker said. "One of them, Admiral Chabanenko, has the technology to detect the slightest action in the air. The vessel that shot down our plane is Chabanenko, it is the most equipped vessel of the three", he concluded.

In his statement, Turker referred to Turkish foreign ministry and intelligence service.

As was told Central Navy Portal by NF Press Service, destroyer (large ASW ship) Admiral Chabanenko is currently "far from Syria. Our ship does not have a fantastic capability of hitting targets in Eastern Mediterranean being stationed in the homebase", the Russian Navy spokesman said.

According to information available to Central Navy Portal, destroyer Admiral Chabanenko is currently moored at NF main base Severomorsk. Somewhat a month ago, the ship took part in the Pomor-2012 Russo-Norwegian naval exercise. As was earlier reported, Syrian authorities declared that its forces shot down a Turkish intruder airplane over Syrian territorial waters. However, Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the airplane had been destroyed in international airspace and only its wrecks fell down into Syrian waters.

According to recent Turkish media reports, Russia allegedly deployed warships to Syrian port Tartus wh ere Russian Navy has maintenance support base. However, Russian defense ministry has not confirmed that information.

Recall that in 2012 Russian warships called at Tartus port many times. To replenish supplies, destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, frigate Ladny, and tanker Lena, being deployed with the Russian Navy's carrier group in the Mediterranean, visited the port in Jan 2012. Aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov and rescue tug Nikolai Chiker were anchored off the Tartus port then.

However, as is known, Admiral Chabanenko set a homeward course and returned to Severomorsk on Feb 20, 2012.

The latest Russian warship visiting Tartus was destroyer Smetlivy patrolled Syrian coast in the spring 2012.

Later on today, Turkish defense minister Ismet Yilmaz confuted media reports that the Turkish fighter Phantom was allegedly shot down near Syrian coast by Russian forces.

Answering request of Turkish parliament, Yilmaz said that according to his knowledge Russians were not involved in the incident and the airplane being on peaceful mission was downed by Syrians without any notification.

Masum Turker said he was not satisfied with the Turkish defense minister's statement and did not believe him.


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