In a speech before his senior Defense Ministry officials in Moscow on Friday, President Vladimir Putin ordered his armed forces to “act as toughly as possible” in defending its air contingent currently deployed in combat operations in Syria.

His remarks were delivered just two weeks after a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber when it allegedly infringed on Turkish airspace, and appeared to be directed at Ankara — which Putin has since accused of aiding the Islamic State group in Syria.

“I want to warn anyone who might again try to organize a provocation against our troops,” Putin said. “Any targets threatening the Russian air grouping or our land infrastructure should be immediately destroyed,” Putin said. […]