Photo Credit: IDF
IAF F-16 'Sufa' warplanes flying in formation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed his confidence in the credibility of the IDF investigation and its conclusions, reiterating that the Syrian military, which brought down the plane, and Iran, whose aggression is undermining stability, are responsible for the unfortunate incident.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that transferring advanced weapons systems, such as the S-300 missiles, into irresponsible hands would increase the dangers in the region, and added that Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests.

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It was agreed to continue the dialogue between the professional teams and the inter-military coordination via the military channels.

Prime Minister Netanyahu again expressed his condolences over the death of Russian soldiers.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman on Sunday stated that “objective data says that the actions of Israeli pilots, which led to the death of 15 Russian military personnel, point to either lack of professionalism or criminal negligence.”

“This is why we believe that the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy is solely the fault of the Israeli Air Force and those who made decisions concerning such actions,” the spokesman said. He stressed that on the night of September 17, the Israeli fighter jets “were active in an area that both military and civilian aircraft fly through when landing at the Hmeimim air base.”

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, it is hard to understand the reasons behind the Israeli actions, taking into account constructing cooperation between Russia and Israel in Syria. “This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that Russia has done for Israel and the Israeli people recently,” the DM spokesman said, suggesting “the Israeli military command either does not value the current level of relations with Russia or does not control certain military units.”

The spokesman pointed that the Israeli F-16 fighter jet’s pilot knew that Russia’s Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft would be a preferred target for Syrian air defenses.

“After the first attack, the Israeli jets pulled back, moving to an area 70 kilometers west of the Syrian coast, turning their radar jamming devices on and apparently making preparations for another attack,” he said.

According to the Russian defense ministry, at 21:59, one of the Israeli F-16 fighters headed to the coast, approaching the Il-20 aircraft, which was preparing to land. “The Syrian air defenses must have taken that maneuver for a new attack by the Israeli Air force,” the spokesman speculated.

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