Turkey shot down the Russian plane near the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying it had violated its air space, in one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century.

Navigator Konstantin Murakhtin was rescued by Russian and Syrian special forces after ejecting from the plane but the pilot was shot dead by rebels as he parachuted to the ground.

"There were no warnings, either by radio or visually. There was no contact whatsoever," TASS quoted Murakhtin as saying at a hospital in the Syrian province of Latakia, where Russia has an airbase.

Ankara has said the plane was repeatedly warned to change course after encroaching on Turkish air space but Moscow has denied that its warplane flew over Turkish territory.

Latest News from World News Desk