Israel accused after Russian spy plane lost over Syria

Russia again says Israel is to blame for the downing of its military plane by Syrian forces - Los Angeles Time

A Russian plane was accidentally shot down by Syria as Israeli jets were attacking Assad regime targets in the war-torn country last week.

Last week, Russia's foreign ministry said Israel must provide Moscow with more information about the downing of the military aircraft near the Syrian coast.

The decision came a week after Israeli F-16 planes struck targets near Moscow's air base in Latakia, western Syria, prompting the Syrian government to respond.

Israel says its air strikes on Syria are not a threat to Russia's ally Assad, but that it must carry them out to halt arms shipments to Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Russia said on Monday it would supply an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria in two weeks despite strong Israeli objections, a week after Moscow accused Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military jet in Syria.

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

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he expected to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in NY as Washington expressed concern at Moscow's plans to supply the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia's decision to deliver an S-300 was not targeted against anyone and was aimed exclusively to protect Russian troops in Syria.

Shoigu said Russian Federation will also jam military aircraft communications in the airspace next to Syria over the Mediterranean Sea, while upgrading Syria's air-defense command systems.

In fact, the Israeli jets were in Latakia, in Syria's west and used the Russian Il-20 as a shield to bypass Syrian government forces' radar systems, the spokesman said. "Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame", the defense minister said. Russian Federation blamed Israel for creating risky conditions that caused the crash.

He said the warning time before the strike was "much longer than one minute".

National security adviser John Bolton said Monday that delivery of the Russian S-300 would be a "significant escalation" in already high tensions in the region and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would raise the matter this week with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at the U.N. General Assembly. The Israeli leader also agreed with Putin on continued co-ordination between the two countries' armed forces.

Israel, by contrast, said that its air force hadn't violated any agreements with Russian Federation and that Israeli jets had already returned to Israeli airspace when the missiles were launched.

The troops are supposedly helping to set up alternative government structures in reclaimed ISIS territories - but their presence is viewed as illegal by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel says it is determined to stop Iran, a longtime foe that has sent forces to back Assad, from becoming entrenched near Israel's northern border and prevent the transfer of advanced missile systems to Iranian proxies, including Hezbollah.

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