In what is the first time a NATO member has shot down a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the early days of the Cold War, Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border. In response to the alarming incident, NATO has called an "extraordinary" meeting Tuesday.
"At the request of Turkey, the North Atlantic Council will hold an extraordinary meeting at (1600 GMT)," a NATO official told AFP. "The aim of this extraordinary NAC is for Turkey to inform Allies about the downing of a Russian airplane."
Turkey claims it warned the Russian fighter ten times that it was "repeatedly" violating the nation's airspace before two Turkish F16s shot it out of the sky. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu defended his military's response, saying that his country had the right to defend its airspace.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plane was shot down about a half-mile away from the Turkish border in Syrian airspace. Putin decried the act as a "stab in the back," saying the fighter did not "in any way threaten" Turkey and accusing the country of acting as "accomplices of terrorists." The Russian leader threatened "serious consequences" for the incident.
Sky News reports that sources say both pilots are dead, with a Syrian rebel group on the ground claiming they shot dead one of the pilots who had ejected from the plane and was attempting to land in northern Syria.
The European Council is urging the nations to remain "calm." "In this dangerous moment after downing of Russian jet, all should remain cool headed and calm," said European Council President Donald Tusk.