Moscow, Oct. 11 (Xinhua-ANI): Moscow demanded explanations from Ankara on Thursday after Turkish warplanes intercepted a Syrian passenger plane with 17 Russian citizens aboard.
The Damascus-bound plane, carrying a total of 35 passengers aboard, was forced to land in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Wednesday over intelligence of "non-civilian cargo".
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian diplomats had arrived at Ankara for consular supports to the Russian nationals, but they were denied access.
"We are concerned over the fact that lives and safety of the passengers, among whom were 17 Russian citizens, were put in risk," spokesman of the ministry Alexander Lukashevich said.
He stressed these Russian passengers, including children, had been locked in the plane for eight hours with no meals provided.
"The Russian side insists that reasons of the Turkish authorities' actions to be explained and measures to be undertaken to avoid similar incidents in the future," the diplomat said.
He added that Turkey did not inform Russia about the incident and Moscow has learnt about it from media coverage only.
The plane, belonging to the Syrian Airlines, was released after the search. The Turkish authorities said they have detected some unspecified "military-related materials".
The Syrian Airlines remained the only carrier connecting Moscow and Damascus, after Russia's flagship Aeroflot Airline canceled its flights in August, citing commercial reasons. (Xinhua-ANI)