A Russian plane has mistakenly been shot down by Syrian Air Defense after an Israeli attack on Syrian positions, killing 15 people on board, Moscow said.
The Russian maritime patrol aircraft was shot by by Syrian regime anti-aircraft artillery amid the Israeli attack on Monday, state news agency RIA-Novosti reported. Israel has been blamed for putting its aircraft in the line of fire, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.
“As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian servicemen were killed, which is absolutely not in keeping with the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership,” said Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian military, according to RIA-Novosti.
According to a US official with details of the incident, the Syrians were trying to stop a barrage of Israeli missiles when the Russian aircraft was hit. A second official confirmed that Israel was responsible for the missile strikes on Syria.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday Moscow was “extremely concerned” about the downing of the aircraft, but declined to comment on further steps the Russian government might expect in response or on any potential impact on relations between Russia and Israel.
An official in Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s office told CNN there had been a conversation between Liberman and his Russian counterpart, Army General Sergei Shoigu.
A handout report of the conversation from the Russian Ministry of Defense revealed that , Shoigu described the actions of the Israeli air force as irresponsible and said to Liberman that the fault for the downed plane and the deaths of its crew “rests entirely with the Israeli side.”
“The actions of the Israeli military do not meet the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership and we reserve the right for further reciprocal steps,” Shoigu said, according to the handout.