Putin says Turkish downing of Russian plane was an ‘enemy act’ – CNN

Putin also appeared to take aim at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend a press conference in 2012.Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend a press conference in 2012.

“There is a problem with the Turkish leadership,” Putin said.

He criticized Turkish officials for getting in touch with NATO rather than choosing first to talk with Russia.

“Did they think we’d run away?” Putin asked. “No, we’re not that kind of country.”

On the contrary, Putin said, Russia has increased its aviation presence in Syria.

“This was a stab in the back,” Putin said. “On interstate level, I do not see the prospect for improving relations.”

Putin: Only the Syrian people can decide

He also rejected international effort to oust Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Many Western leaders have said that Assad, who is blamed for the deaths of tens of thousands of his citizens, cannot be part of Syria’s future.

Putin says only the Syrian people can decide whether Bashar al-Assad stays of goes.Putin says only the Syrian people can decide whether Bashar al-Assad stays of goes.

But Putin said he would never agree to outsiders determining Syria’s political future.

“Only the Syrian people can determine who should govern them and under what standards, what rules,” Putin said.

Putin declined to comment on the U.S. presidential election.

“Whoever it is, we are ready and we want to develop our relations with the United States,” he said. “We are going to work with any president the American people vote for,”

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