Russian plane downing in Syria will harm relations with Israel

Hannah Rogers
September 25, 2018

Israel and Russian Federation have been embroiled in a tense diplomatic row since the downing of the Ilyushin Il-20 electronic surveillance aircraft last week, during an Israeli air strike near the Syrian city of Latakia.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday that Moscow will supply an S-300 anti-missile system to the Assad regime within two weeks. Earlier in the war, Russian Federation suspended a supply of S-300, which Israel feared Syria could use against it. Russian officials said Syria's outdated S-200 systems weren't sophisticated enough to identify the Russian plane as a friendly one. The Israeli jet, which effectively used the Il-20 as a cover from the attack, then also abruptly changed its altitude and the flight direction, Konashenkov said. The crash was one of the deadliest incidents for regular Russian service members in the Syrian war.

Shoigu said Russian Federation is now going to go ahead with the shipment because "the situation has changed, and it's not our fault".

The Russian Il-20 military reconnaissance aircraft was downed by Syrian air defences that mistook it for an Israeli aircraft, killing all 15 people on board.

According to the Syrian president's office, Putin told Assad the blame for the plane incident lay squarely with Israel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that he disagreed with the Israeli version of events concerning the downing of a Russian plane over Syria last week, the Kremlin said.

But, the Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday accused Israel of using the hotline to mislead Russia about its plans. "Everything had worked right up until the tragedy that occurred recently".

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Aside from her impressive athletic accomplishments, Celia was also finishing her degree in Civil Engineering. Richards "had several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting", the complaint said.

Russian Federation launched its campaign in support of President Bashar Assad in 2015, eventually turning the tide of war in favour of Syrian government forces.

Israel has long lobbied Moscow not to provide the S-300 to Syria, fearing this would hinder its aerial capability to strike buildups of Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria.

Although Russia suggested that its immediate goal in supplying the missiles would be to protect Russian aircraft from accidental shoot-downs, the S-300s will also give Syria enhanced capacity to take on any of the other countries flying sorties in its crowded skies, including the United States and its allies in the coalition against the Islamic State.

For several years, Israel and Russian Federation have maintained a special hotline to prevent their air forces from clashing in the skies over Syria.

Russian Federation sells arms to Iran and supports the nuclear deal with Tehran - which Israel has vociferously lobbied against. The S-300 system was first deployed by the Soviet Union in 1979, designed for the air defense of large industrial and administrative facilities, military bases and control of airspace against enemy strike aircraft. Moscow has since played a careful balancing act, maintaining good ties both with Iran and Israel. "I think they will become more risk-averse, though, at the same time, try and signal the opposite", he said.

On Sunday, Moscow formally accused Israel of "an act of criminal negligence" by failing to inform Russian Federation of an imminent attack on targets in Syria. Sly reported from Beirut.

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