Plane Downing Result of 'Premeditated' Actions by Israeli Pilots: Russia

Arturo Kim
September 25, 2018

"And it's not our fault" Shoigu said.

Russian Federation launched its campaign in Syria to support President Bashar Assad in 2015, and though the involvement turned the tide of war in favor of Syrian government forces, Moscow has tried to play a careful balancing act, maintaining good ties both with Iran and Israel.

This will improve Syrian air-defense operations and "most important, the identification of all Russian aircraft by Syrian air-defense systems will be guaranteed", Shoigu said.

"According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly can not but harm our relations", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"We think introducing the S-300s to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider", Bolton said.

Russian Federation launched its campaign in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad in 2015 and though the involvement turned the tide of war in favour of Syrian regime forces.

An unnamed source in the Syrian Army say that Russia has already deployed the first S-300 systems to the Khmeimim (Russian military airbase in Syria).

Peskov said the measures were "not directed against third countries but towards defending our own military". The Syrian military had been trying to target four Israeli jets that were conducting raids near the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel regularly carries out strikes in Syria against Assad's government, its Lebanese ally Hezbollah and Iranian targets.

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Much of Syria's air-defense network has been provided by Russian Federation but consists of weapons that are older and less effective than the S-300.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had in the past obliged Israel by refraining from supplying Syria with the system.

A Russian military Ilyushin IL-20 landing at Kubinka air base on June 3, 2011. "After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we're back to square one", Yadlin told Bloomberg news in April.

According to the halturnerradioshow.com, nearly seven Ilyushin Il-76 military transporters of Russian Air Force have arrived at Khmeimim military airbase on 22 September.

But last week's crash, which killed 15 Russian service members, had forced Moscow to take "adequate retaliatory measures" to keep its troops safe.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces maintained its version of events - that the Russian reconnaissance plane was shot down as a result of indiscriminate Syrian anti-aircraft fire - and said it would continue to act to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining advanced weapons.

Earlier, the Russian MoD presented a minute-by-minute timeline of the Il-20 downing. Moscow blamed the friendly fire incident on Israeli pilots using the larger Russian plane as "cover".

Nevertheless, the Israeli military said that it would continue to operate against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and that it hoped its coordination efforts with Russian Federation continued.

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