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 Putin has badly misread Turkey’s determination to defend its interests, - The Telegraph

Until Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over its border with Syria on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin seemed to have convinced himself that Nato countries were just not serious about confronting Russia’s increasingly belligerent military conduct.

Censor.NET reports citing the article by Con Coughlin in The Telegraph.

The article reads: "The Russian president recently made this view known when close aides warned him of Britain's views on Russia. They told him that, when Britain outlined its National Security Strategy as part of the 2015 defence review, it would argue that, after Islamic State (Isil), Russia posed the greatest threat to global peace. But rather than being alarmed that his country was being cast in the same mould as the barbaric followers of Isil, Mr Putin simply shrugged. "Don't worry," he reassured his aides. "The British aren't serious."

"And, given the impotent response by Britain and its Nato allies to Moscow's various acts of aggression over the past decade, who could blame the Russian leader for his nonchalance? Georgia, Crimea, eastern Ukraine, the Baltics, Syria: the roll call of Mr Putin's unwelcome meddling in the affairs of other nations does not make happy reading for Western leaders. And yet, until yesterday, Nato had done precious little to persuade Mr Putin to rethink his cavalier attitude towards other nations' borders.

Read more: Turkey had exercised its "international right and national duty" by downing warplane, Turkish PM Davutoglu says

"Nato turned a blind eye when, in retaliation for Georgia's attempts to join the Nato alliance in 2008, Moscow helped itself to the former Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Last year's illegal annexation of Crimea is now a fait accompli so far as Russia is concerned, while Nato's response to the Kremlin's continued sabre rattling in eastern Ukraine and the Baltics has been to conduct a few war games and bolster its air patrols.

"So when Mr Putin embarked on his Syrian adventure earlier in the autumn, he had little reason to heed Nato's blunt warnings of the serious consequences Russia might face if its warplanes continued to violate the airspace of Turkey, one of the alliance's more volatile members.

"Mr Putin's belief that he could conduct Russia's dealings in Syria with arrogant disregard for other regional concerns resulted in yesterday's disaster. But as the world knows only too well from bitter experience, fundamental misunderstandings of this kind are how world wars get started.

Read more: Turkey downing Russian Su-24 "stab in the back", Putin says. VIDEO

"Mr Putin continues to insist that Russia's military intervention in support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is aimed at destroying Isil, even though his critics claim the reality is that the Russians are concentrating their firepower on bombing Syrian opposition groups, many of which have Turkish backing. The Turks, who harbour their own desire to remove Assad, have been angered by Russia's intervention, particularly as it has led to Russian warplanes violating Turkish air space when they bomb rebel positions in northern Syria.

"Last month these careless Russian antics prompted the US and its Nato allies to issue a blunt warning that the alliance would respond militarily if Moscow continued with what Nato leaders called "unacceptable violations of Turkish air space. " This time around, Mr Putin should have taken Nato's warnings at face value, particularly as the Turks were itching to teach the Russians a lesson. He didn't, and now he must deal with the consequences of a Turkish F-16 shooting down a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 while on a bombing raid against Turkmen positions close to the Turkish border. If Mr Putin wants to play with fire, then he needs to learn he will end up getting burned."
 
 
 
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