Russia blames Israel —again— for plane shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire
The Russian Defense Ministry is again accusing Israel of causing the downing of a Russian military plane over Syria.
Syrian government forces mistook the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane for an Israeli jet and shot it down Monday, killing all 15 people aboard.
While the Russian military initially blamed the plane’s loss on Israel, President Vladimir Putin later defused tensions, calling the downing “a chain of tragic, fatal circumstances.”
The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday said an Israeli fighter jet flying over Syria’s coastal province of Latakia shortly before the downing deliberately used the Russian plane as a shield. Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov says the Israeli pilot’s actions showed “either lack of professionalism or criminal negligence.”
It was also said that the heads of the IDF do not appreciate the relationship with Moscow.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis addressed the downing of the Russian plane in Syria on Tuesday after Moscow accused Israel of a hostile provocation and threatened to respond.
“Israel expresses its regret over the death of the crew members of the Russian plane that was downed tonight due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire,” read the statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
“Israel holds the Assad regime, whose military shot down the Russian plane fully responsible for this incident. Israel also holds Iran and the Hezbollah terror organization accountable for this unfortunate incident.”
“These weapons were meant to attack Israel and posed an intolerable threat against it,” Manelis said.
“The Syrian anti-aircraft batteries fired indiscriminately and from what we understand, did not bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air. The extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft missile fire caused the Russian plane to be hit,” Manelis added.