Russians Certain Giving Syria S-300 Missiles Won't Upset Relations with Israel

Lester Mason
September 25, 2018

24 announced new security measures to protect its military in Syria, including supplying the Syrian army with a new S-300 air defense system and jamming radars of nearby warplanes following the downing of a Russian plane last week.

Israel's military said in a statement its jets "did not hide behind any aircraft and that the Israeli aircraft were in Israeli airspace at the time of the downing of the Russian plane".

"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. "Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame", Shoigu said Monday.

Israel says it was targeting a Syrian military facility where weapons manufacturing systems were "about to be transferred on behalf of Iran" to Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also said Russian Federation planned to jam radars of military planes striking from off the coast of the Mediterranean. Israel said Syria was responsible. Israel effectively used the plane as a cover during the attack, he added. But he also repeated Moscow's accusations that Israel was to blame for the plane's downing: "No doubt that according to our military experts, deliberate action by Israeli pilots was the reason for the tragedy and this can not but harm our (Russia-Israeli) ties".

The Il-20 aircraft was carrying 15 Russian servicemen when it was shot down last week by a Soviet-built S-200 anti-aircraft missile system operated by Syria's armed forces.

Russian officials did not, however, signal a desire to fundamentally alter the relationship with Israel - a key element of the Kremlin's push to build its influence in the Middle East.

But Mattis did push back on the S-300 deployment, saying that "any additional weapons going in to support Assad keeps him in a position of threat to the region".

The reconnaissance plane's downing "was indeed preceded by a chain of tragic accidents", Peskov said, but this chain was set in motion "largely by the deliberate actions of Israeli pilots".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow's decision does not target a third country. Fifteen Russian crew members were killed in the incident, for which Israel denies responsibility.

The Israeli military on Sunday rejected the Russian defense ministry's claim that it was entirely to blame for the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli strike last week, reiterating that Syria was at fault. Moreover, the Israelis misinformed the Russians about the location of their targets.

"The Russian side proceeds from the fact that the actions by the Israeli air force were the main reason for the tragedy", a statement said. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the strikes had removed any moral obligation Russian Federation had to withhold the missiles and Russia's Kommersant daily cited unnamed military sources as saying deliveries might begin imminently.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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