The Russian Ministry of Defense explained yesterday's disappearance of the Il-20 aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea. According to the department, he was shot down by Syrian air defense, but because of the Israeli pilots who brought him under attack. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu described the actions of the Israeli Air Force as irresponsible and stressed that Russia reserves the right to further reciprocal steps. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the wreck of the IL-20 a chain of tragic circumstances. Israel deplored the incident, but the guilty "in a sad incident" considers the "Assad regime, Iran and Hezbollah". According to Israel, at the time when the Syrians released missiles that had fallen into the Russian aircraft, Israeli planes were already on Israeli territory. Meanwhile, the Israeli ambassador to Russia was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in connection with the incident.
A representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov at today's briefing called the reasons for the death of a Russian Il-20 aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea. Recall that the disappearance of the aircraft became known last night. "Covering themselves with a Russian plane, Israeli pilots framed it under the fire of Syria's air defenses. As a result, the IL-20, whose effective reflective surface is an order of magnitude larger than that of the F-16 (used by the Israeli military. "Kommersant"), was shot down by a S-200 missile. " The downed Il-20 was an electronic reconnaissance aircraft that operated in Syria. On its board there were 15 Russian servicemen. Rescue operation in the area of its wreckage continues, but there is practically no chance of discovering someone alive.
In the PJSC "Il" reported that the plane of the Ministry of Defense of Russia Il-20, shot down in the sky of Syria, last time was overhauled in 2011, was fully operational and had to be operated at least until 2021.
The Israeli planes, which the Syrian air defense forces tried to hit, yesterday struck at targets in the area of Latakia. The attack was conducted from the sea side. According to the Syrian state agency SANA, the target of the attack were industrial enterprises.
The Russian side is convinced that the Israeli military initially created a dangerous situation. "The bombing was carried out not far from the location of the French frigate Auvergne and in the immediate vicinity of the Il-20 landing aircraft," said Mr. Konashenkov. The representative of the Defense Ministry believes that the Israeli pilots "could not help seeing the Russian plane", but "nevertheless they deliberately went to this provocation."
At the same time, the Israeli aviation did not inform about its intention to strike an attack. "On the hotline, the notification was received less than one minute before the strike, which did not allow the Russian aircraft to be taken to a safe area," Mr. Konashenkov said. "We view the provocative actions of Israel as hostile. We reserve the right to adequate response actions. "
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a telephone conversation with the head of the Israeli military department Avigdor Lieberman said that the tragedy occurred as a result of "irresponsible actions of the Israeli Air Force". Mr. Shoigu stated that the blame for the downed Russian plane and the death of the crew lies entirely on the Israeli side. "The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly called on the Israeli side to refrain from striking Syrian territory, which threaten the security of Russian servicemen," the minister said, adding that Russia reserves the right to further reciprocal steps.
"We confirm the fact of the conversation (Sergei Shoigu and Avigdor Lieberman .-" Kommersant "). We do not comment on its content, "the Ministry of Defense of Israel said. "So far we have no reaction," Anna Jonathan-Leus, spokeswoman for the head of the Israeli government, told RIA Novosti. There were no comments from Damascus, although the Russian military did not even blame the blame on it.
The first reaction of Moscow was the call in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Ambassador to Israel Harry Koren. The embassy does not comment on the situation.
Israel expressed regret at the loss of the crew of the Russian aircraft in the sky over Latakia. This is stated in the message of the Ministry of Defense of Israel, received by Kommersant. At the same time, Israel blamed the incident for the "Assad regime", whose air defense had shot down the aircraft, as well as Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.
Israel acknowledged that it struck a blow at Syrian military targets in Latakia. He argues that from these facilities, Iran planned to hand over to Hezbollah "systems for the production of precision and lethal weapons." "Israel completely imposes responsibility for the incident on the regime of Bashar Assad, whose army has shot down a Russian plane," the report said. Israel also considers Iran and Hezbollah "as partners in this sad incident."
According to an investigation by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the Russian aircraft was shot down as a result of a massive and inaccurate anti-aircraft fire from the Syrians.
"When the Syrian army fired rockets that got into a Russian plane, Israeli planes were already on Israeli territory," the military department said. According to Israeli data, at the time of Israel's attack on targets in Latakia, the Russian aircraft was not in the zone of defeat. "Syrian anti-aircraft batteries carried out random fire and did not bother to make sure that there are no Russian planes in the air," the report said. Israel promised to provide the Russian government with all the information necessary to clarify the incident and clarify the facts presented in this investigation.
The press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov said that "the Kremlin is extremely concerned" in connection with the IL-20 disaster. "The situation is being analyzed, the first data were voiced in the statement of the Ministry of Defense, the actions that were named as provocative were very unambiguously assessed," Mr. Peskov said in response to a question from "FM".
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the relatives of those who died in the disaster. "When people die, especially in such tragic circumstances, it is always a disaster for us all, for the country and for our close comrades who died," he said at a press conference after talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The President stressed that this incident should not be compared with the Russian-bomber Su-24, which was shot down by Turkey on November 24, 2015.
"Here, rather, it looks like a chain of tragic accidental circumstances," Mr Putin said. He also promised that additional protection will be provided to the Russian military and facilities in Syria. "These will be such steps that everyone will notice," the president said.
"Details of the tragic incident in Syria are still being clarified, but I wrote three years ago when the Russian intervention in Syria had just begun, that it was almost impossible to completely avoid conflicts and clashes in such a small airspace. The continuation of cooperation is important both for Israel and for Russia, and we would like to hope for finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but the question is whether freedom of action for Israel in the Syrian sky will remain against the Iranian military facilities. This is a matter of Israel's national security. We already hear voices in Moscow, which call for an end to this. Anyway, but back to that modus vivendi, which was before this incident, it will not be easy for Israel, "Ksenia Svetlova, an Israeli Knesset member from the opposition faction Zionist camp, told Kommersant.