Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed sorrow over the downing of a Russian warplane in which the entire 15-member crew was killed after being hit with a Syrian missile as Syrian air defenses fired on Israeli jets.
Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone call that he believes that Syria bears responsibility for the downing of the Il-20 electronic intelligence plane. He offered to dispatch the Israeli air force chief to Moscow to share details.
He noted the importance of the continuation of security coordination between Israel and Russia, saying it helped prevent many losses on both sides. Netanyahu also noted that Israel is determined to block Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria and transferring weapons to its proxy Hezbollah militia for use against Israel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said “a chain of tragic circumstances” is to be blamed for a Russian military aircraft shot down by a Syrian missile. He vowed to boost security for Russian troops there.
The Russian reconnaissance aircraft was shot down by Syrian missile defense over the Mediterranean Sea late on Monday. The missiles were reportedly targeting Israeli jets nearby. All 15 people onboard are reported dead.
Putin on Tuesday that the Kremlin will look into circumstances surrounding the crash. Putin made his remarks several hours after the Defense Ministry put the blame squarely on Israel for “provoking” the incident. Putin did not voice his grievances against Israel, but said he supported the Defense Ministry’s statement.
Story by The Associated Press