The Turkish military’s capture of a Syria civilian aircraft and claim that “objectionable materials” from Russia were on board has sparked an angry condemnation by the US State Department, which declared Russia “morally bankrupt” for the shipment.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland insisted that the US has “no doubt that this was serious military equipment.” This is in spite of the Turkish government providing zero details of their own about the shipment.
And perhaps more confusingly, the Russian government has been the most upfront about what was taken of anyone, confirming that there was electronic equipment related to radar systems on board the plane. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has noted that such equipment is not banned from being on civilian planes by any international convention.
The US has been keen to lash out at Russia for not approving UN-backed operations against Syria in relation to their ongoing civil war, and Nuland conceded that Russia didn’t appear to have done anything illegal, but insisted that it was still unacceptable.