Global News

Russian Federation to upgrade Syrian air defences

Russian Federation to upgrade Syrian air defences

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

"According to information of our military experts, the reason [behind the downing] were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly can not but harm our relations", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's office explicitly linked the Russian decision to supply the weapons to the air crash: "President Putin held Israel responsible for bring down the plane and informed President Assad that Russia will develop Syria's air defence systems", the Syrian presidency said.

"This is why we believe that the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy is exclusively the fault of the Israeli Air Force and those who made decisions concerning such actions", the spokesman said.

Putin has described the incident as a "chain of tragic accidental circumstances".

"We are convinced that these measures will calm down some hotheads and keep them from careless actions which pose a threat to our troops", Mr Shoigu said.

Russia's Tass news agency said at the time that the plane "disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province".

Russian Federation launched its campaign in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad in 2015 and though the involvement turned the tide of war in favour of Syrian government forces, Moscow has since played a careful balancing act, maintaining good ties both with Iran and Israel.

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Shoigu said S-300 missiles will strongly strengthen combat capabilities of the Syrian air defense due to their jamming invulnerability and firing speed.

Addressing the Russian Defense Ministry's announcement on S-300 supplies to Syria, Vladimir Ermakov, Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that any state had the inalienable right to provide defense industry assistance to its partners.

The agreement over the buffer zone was reached during a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The Russian military is furthermore trying to hide the fact that Russian officers supervise the use of Russian-made anti-aircraft batteries in Syria and had the ability to identify their own IL-20 plane before it was shot down.

It seems that these measures are the most serious measures Russian Federation has taken against Israel since the Yom Kippur War in 1973. However, the Kremlin also said Russia's decision was not targeted against anyone and only serves to protect Russian troops in Syria.

In recent months, the government recaptured many areas that were controlled by the opposition. Russian Federation has largely refrained from arming the Syrian air defence forces with S-300 due to protests from Israel, which would come under threat from the improved defences. "Russia needs to increase safety of its military and it should be clear for everyone", he said.

According to the halturnerradioshow.com, nearly seven Ilyushin Il-76 military transporters of Russian Air Force have arrived at Khmeimim military airbase on 22 September.

Russia's supplies to Syria would be able to close the Syrian airspace where necessary, Ermakov elaborated, adding that the arguments of Moscow's partners, who previously asked not to deliver the S-300s to Syria, had no effect anymore.


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