Unic Press UK: The Russian military has put blame on the State of Israel over the shooting down of Russia’s Ilyushin-20 military aircraft on Monday night.
The Russian aircraft and its 14 crew members disappeared from the sky as four Israeli F-16 fighter jets carried out nocturnal airstrikes on Syrian facilities in Latakia province yesterday.
In a statement after the horrific incident [disappearance of the military aircraft along with its 14 crew members] the Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov accused Israel of using Russia’s Ilyushin-20 military aircraft as a bait, a cover against Syrian surface-to-air missiles during Israel forces illegal airstrikes on Syrian territory.
“By using the Russian plane as cover the Israeli air pilots made it vulnerable to Syrian air defense fire. As a result, the Ilyushin-20, its reflective surface being far greater than that of the F-16, was downed by a missile launched with the S-200 system. The bombing raid was near the French frigate The Auvergne and in close proximity to the Ilyushin-20 plane from Russia’s Aerospace Force that was about to land. Nevertheless they deliberately staged this provocation. A hotline warning was received less than one minute before the strike, which left no chance for getting the Russian plane to safety,” said Konashenkov, the Russian News Agency, TASS, reported.
Reacting to the allegation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued a statement on Tuesday, blaming Iran, Hezbollah and the Syrian Army:
“Extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (Surface to Air missile) fire caused the Russian plane to be hit and downed. When the Syrian Army launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane, IAF jets were already within Israeli airspace. During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation. The Syrian anti-air batteries fired indiscriminately and from what we understand, did not bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.”
Overnight, IDF fighter jets targeted a facility of the Syrian Armed Forces from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) September 18, 2018
The office of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has commiserated with the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin over the incident in a statement, saying: “The prime minister, in the name of the State of Israel, conveyed sorrow over the deaths of the Russian soldiers and said that the responsibility for downing the plane falls on Syria,” the Times of Israel reports.