Russia sent an advanced missile system - the S-400 - to Syria on Wednesday to protect its jets operating there and s, sounding a defiant note after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet, Reuters reported.
Russia also deployed a missile cruiser near Latakia and said it is ready to take down any aerial targets threatening its airbase near the Syrian city, with long-range surface-to-air missiles.
The Moskva cruiser, stationed in Latakia as part of the military buildup, is a 11,500-ton, 186-meter warship serving as part of the Russian Black Sea fleet. In addition to anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine mortars and torpedoes, it has 64 Fort missiles, the naval version of the S-300 long-range air defense system. The missiles can engage targets at a range of up to 150km, which is enough to cover all of southern Turkey from Latakia, rt.com reported.
All Russian bombers will now be accompanied by fighter jets to protect them from possible aggression. Russia also warned that it would destroy any aircraft threatening Russian forces deployed in the Middle Eastern country, RT.com added.
Reuters said Russian officials expressed fury over Turkey's actions, and spoke of retaliatory measures that were likely to include curbing travel by Russian tourists to Turkish resorts and some restrictions on trade.
But the Russian response was also carefully calibrated. There was no sign Russia wanted a military escalation, or to jeopardize its main objective in the region: to rally international support for its view on how the conflict in Syria should be resolved.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke by phone with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday. Turkey's foreign ministry said they would meet soon but Russia's Interfax news agency said Lavrov had not agreed to meet.
"We have no intention of fighting a war with Turkey," Lavrov said. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan also said Ankara had no intention of escalating tensions with Russia.
Speaking on a trip to the Ural mountains city of Nizhny Tagil, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the despatch of an advanced weapons system to Russia's Khmeimim air base in Syria's Latakia province.
"I hope that this, along with other measures that we are taking, will be enough to ensure (the safety) of our flights," Putin told reporters.
The despatch of the weapons, which officials later said would be the S-400 missile system, is likely to be viewed as a stark warning to Turkey not to try to shoot down any more Russian planes.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was forced to fly missions close to the Turkish border because that was where the militants tended to be located. "(Russia's) operations will continue without doubt," he said.
Russian forces launched a heavy bombardment against insurgent-held areas in Syria's Latakia province on Wednesday, near where the warplane was shot down, rebels and a monitoring group said, Reuters reported.
The Russian Su-24 jet downed on Tuesday was hit by missile fire from Turkish aircraft as it flew a mission over Syria near the Turkish border, where the Russian air force has been bombing rebel targets.
Turkey said the plane had encroached on Turkish air space and was warned repeatedly to change course, but Russian officials said the plane was at no time over Turkey.
The crew ejected, and one pilot was shot dead by rebels as he parachuted to the ground. A Russian marine sent to recover the crew was also killed in an attack by rebels. Syrian state media reported the jet's second pilot had been rescued.
Russia's foreign ministry issued a protest over the incident to the Turkish ambassador in Moscow, according to a Russian foreign ministry source.