Russia has blamed poor weather conditions for the latest airspace violation in Turkey during the ongoing air strikes in Syria against Islamic State (Isis) positions. The violation by a Russian jet sparked a minor row between the two countries with Ankara issuing a stern warning.
"This incident is a result of unfavourable weather conditions. There is no need to look for some conspiracy theories. The S-30 Russian fighter jet completing his planned flight on Oct 3 entered Turkish airspace for several seconds while it was manoeuvring over mountainside to return to the Himeymim airbase," said Russia's defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov.
Turkey scrambled two F-16s to intercept the Russian warplane which was thought to be bombing IS targets in Syria and Iraq. The 3 October violation was followed by a similar incident the next day.
The Russian jet's unauthorised entry into Turkish sovereign airspace has added to the geopolitical tensions, which are already high due to allegations that Moscow is targeting Syria's anti-regime rebels alongside IS jihadists.
Condemning Russia's actions in the busy airspace, US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters: "Frankly, we view this incursion as reckless." Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Chile, added: "We are greatly concerned about it because it is precisely the kind of thing that had Turkey responded ... it could have resulted in a shoot-down, and it is precisely the kind of thing we warned against." Nato has joined the outcry while the UN has expressed serious concern.
Russia launched its aerial attack on 30 September as part of Moscow's intensified campaign against IS militants. Western nations suspect the Kremlin's actions would only help embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Russia, to regain some of the territories from the rebel forces.