Netanyahu: Syria is to blame for downing of Russian plane
After Russia announces it intends to supply Syria with S-300 anti-aircraft missile system after last week's downing of a Russian spy plane, Russian president says actions are aimed at protecting his military during phone call with prime minister.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a telephone conversation on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which he blamed the Syrians for last week's downing of a Russian spy plane after an IAF strike in Latakia, despite Russia's conclusions that Israel bears responsibility for the incident.
Netanyahu and Putin's phone call came on the backdrop of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's announcement on Monday morning that Moscow will supply an S-300 anti-missile system to Syria within two weeks.
Netanyahu said that "transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region," adding "Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests," According to a statement released by the GPO.
"Both leaders agreed to continue dialogue between the professional teams and the inter-military coordination via the military channels," the GPO added.
Putin told Netanyahu that Russia’s actions were aimed at protecting its military, according to the Kremlin statement.
Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Monday that Russian plans to supply Syria with an S-300 missile system would be a “significant escalation” by Moscow and that he hopes it will reconsider.
Bolton added Iran is the one to blame for the attack in Syria and the downing of the Russian plane.
“We think introducing the S-300s to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians ... and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider,” Bolton told reporters.
“There shouldn’t be any misunderstanding here ... The party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran,” he said.
Shoigu stated that the S-300 system transfer would be carried out despite Israel's past requests not to do so due to its activity in the region.
"In 2013, we agreed to stop the transfer of the system to Syria due to an Israeli request. However, through no fault of our own, the situation has changed," the defense minister stressed.
Shoigu added that Russia will begin using electromagnetic devices intended to prevent satellite communications off the coast of Syria.
Russia's defense minister added Syrian forces have already trained on the S-300 system.
Apart from disrupting electronic warfare within the Russian airspace, the Russian army will provide better control systems to the Syrian air defense systems, such as the systems currently only provided to the Russian military, according to Shoigu.
"The most important thing is it will allow Syrian air defense systems to recognize Russian aircraft," he went on to say.
Israeli planes detected by Syrian radars might also be exposed to Syrian fire.
Putin spoke with his Syrian counterpart Basahr Assad on the phone to inform him about the transfer of the anti-missile system.
However, the Kremlin stressed that the move "is not directed at any third country. Russia needs to increase safety of its military and it should be clear for everyone."
On Sunday, during a press briefing, ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the heads of the IDF do not appreciate the relationship with Moscow.
"The military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia, or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy," Konashenkov elucidated.
"The actions of the Israeli fighter pilots, which led to the loss of life of 15 Russian servicemen, either lacked professionalism or were an act of criminal negligence, to say the least," he continued.
Konashenkov also revealed that Russia assisted in preventing shooting at the Israeli Golan Heights and was asked to search for the remains of Israeli soldiers in areas held by the Islamic State Group (ISIS) in Syria.
Russia has claimed since the attack that Israel gave the Kremlin less than one minute's notice before the attack, giving the plane insufficient time to fly to safety—"a clear violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements."
RT said in its report that the IDF "failed to provide the location of their jets or properly specify their targets, claiming they were going to attack several 'industrial facilities' in northern Syria, close to the Il-20’s area of operation.
In response to the Russian investigation, the IDF issued a statement saying, "The full details, both precise and factual, are known to the professionals in the Russian military, who confirmed that a special hotline to prevent air forces from clashing in the skies over Syria was activated on time.
“The IAF did not hide behind any aircraft, and the Israeli planes were in Israeli airspace when a Syrian missile struck the Russian plane,” the statement exclaimed.