MOSCOW: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apologised to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the downing of a Russian military jet at the Syrian border earlier last year.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Monday confirmed that the Russian president had received a message from Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing his “sympathy and deep condolences” to the family of the killed pilot and apologized.

“The head of the Turkish state in his message expressed his sympathy and deepest condolences to the family of the dead Russian pilot and said sorry,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He added that Erdogan said he wanted to do “everything possible for the restoration of the traditionally friendly relations between Turkey and Russia.”

The Kremlin then released a statement which quoted Erdogan as saying that Ankara “never had the desire and the intention” to down the Russian jet.

“I want to once again express my sympathy and deep condolences to the family of the dead Russian pilot and I say sorry,” the statement quoted Erdogan as saying.

Russia reacted with ire after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber at the Syrian border for allegedly violating its airspace in November last year.