Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Turkish-Syrian border Tuesday over claims the plane violated Turkey’s airspace and ignored multiple warnings.
Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately denied the claims saying the Russian Su-24 was flying a mission over Syria, where it was supporting ground action against rebels in the Syrian conflict. He called the Turkey’s downing of the plan a “stab in the back by the terrorists’ accomplices” and warned of “significant consequences.”
While it is unclear whether the Russian plane did in fact invade Turkish airspace, what is clear is Russia’s long history of violating airspace and territorial waters.
Over the weekend, Canada sent a maritime patrol aircraft to the United Kingdom after a Russian sub was reportedly spotted off the coast of Scotland.
And in October, the tensions raised by Russia’s airstrikes in Syria reached a new high when NATO denounced Russia for “irresponsible behaviour” after its warplanes violated Turkish airspace. Turkey warned that any future aerial intruder would be treated like an enemy.
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In a September incident, Denmark’s military said two fighters jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian military planes flying near the country’s airspace over the Baltic Sea.
Canada is also no stranger to Russia’s aggressive tactics.
In 2014, NATO countries conducted 400 interceptions of Russian aircraft, many near the Canadian Arctic. A Norad spokesman told Global News in April they noticed an increase in the number of Russian aircraft flights near North America in 2014, since Russia’s incursion in Ukraine and Crimea.
In one incident on Sept. 7, 2014 the HMCS Toronto was buzzed by a Russian aircraft in the Black Sea, with the plane coming within 300 metres of the warship. Rob Nicholson, Canada’s Defence Minister at the time, said while the planes did not pose a threat he called the incident “unnecessarily provocative.”
In another September incident, The London based European Leadership Network (ELN) think-tank said Russian strategic bombers in the Labrador Sea near Canada practiced cruise missile strikes on the United States. The ELN said while Russian aircraft stayed outside of Canada’s airspace it was still considered a provocative move in light of the NATO summit ongoing at the time.
In 2011, Canada sent a surveillance plane to waters off the country’s East Coast to monitor a pair of nuclear-powered Russian submarines in the area.
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“For a variety of reasons, to demonstrate our commitment to sovereignty, we’re watching to ensure we know what is happening along our coastlines,” Mackay told The Canadian Press. “Anything that comes near sovereign Canadian territory, we are going to react.”
In 2009, Four Canadian and U.S. fighter jets were scrambled to meet two Russian bomber planes found flying on the edge of Canada’s Arctic airspace hours before President Barack Obama arrived in Ottawa for his first foreign visit.