Earlier in the day, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia would take a number of measures to boost safety of its troops in Syria, including the deliveries of the S-300 system, in the wake of the Il-20 jet crash. Following the announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the deliveries would “increase the risks in the region.” Putin stressed that the decision adequately reflected the current circumstances and aimed to prevent any potential threat to the lives of Russian servicemen in Syria.
“I believe that everyone understands that this very difficult decision on S-300 supplies to Syria had been made with all its possible consequences taken into account. The number one goal is to ensure the safety of the Russian military in Syria and de-escalation of the situation in the country as a whole. It is unlikely that anyone will have the courage to test the effectiveness of our anti-aircraft missile systems,” Frantz Klintsevich, a member of the Russian upper house’s defense committee, said Monday.
The S-300 supplies can be also viewed as a signal for Israel to reconsider its policy toward Syria, the senator suggested.
Regardless of a motive behind them, strikes on Syria create rather settle problems and can further escalate the situation, according to the senator.
“Strikes on Syria are absolutely not the way toward ensuring security of Israel,” he concluded.
On September 17, the Russian Hmeimim air base in Syria lost contact with the crew of the military aircraft, which was monitoring the situation on the ground in Syria’s Idlib province. At the same time, four Israeli F-16 jets were hitting Syrian targets in Latakia province. According to Shoigu, Israel had notified the Russian military of its airstrikes only one minute before their start and failed to provide the location of its bombers to Russia. As a result, the Il-20 was caught in the crossfire and downed by a missile launched by Syria’s S-200 air defense system.
Russia has blamed the incident, which claimed the lives of 15 troops, on Israel and said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used the Russian Il-20 as a shield.
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