Russian Federation to supply S-300 air defense system to Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the move an "adequate" measure, aimed at "preventing any potential threat" to the lives of Russian service personnel deployed to Syria, in phone exchange with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The incident was the deadliest case of friendly fire between Syria and its key backer Russian Federation since Moscow's game-changing 2015 military intervention.

FILE- In this file photo taken on Saturday, March 4, 2017, The Russian Il-20 electronic intelligence plane of the Russian air force with the registration number RF 93610, which was accidentally downed by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli air strike flies near Kubinka airport, outside Moscow, Russia. The Russian president also informed Assad of the S-300 delivery, it said.

On Sunday, military spokesman Igor Konashenkov presented the results of an investigation.

U.S. 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.

Russian Federation last month hinted it would supply the weapons to President Bashar al-Assad, over Israeli objections, after Western military strikes on Syria.

Shoigu said the new system will "significantly increase" the Syrian army's combat capabilities.

Israel has long called on Russian Federation not to provide the S-300 system to Syria and in 2013, the Kremlin agreed to put a deal to deliver them on hold.

According to the ministry of defense, the Russian military aircraft was shot down before landing at the Hmeimim air base.

Konashenkov said the Russian military received a call from Israeli command at 1839 GMT on the day of the incident to warn that Israel would be striking "north of Syria", where the Il-20 surveillance aircraft was monitoring the Idlib de-escalation zone.

"We are certain that the realisation of these measures will cool the "hot heads" and will keep them from poorly thought-out actions which threaten our servicemen", Shoigu said.

This will improve Syrian air-defense operations and "most important, the identification of all Russian aircraft by Syrian air-defense systems will be guaranteed", Shoigu said.

But when the dust settled, blame fell on Israel.

Peskov said the measures were "not directed against third countries but towards defending our own military". It is possible that these aircraft delivered of the S-300 air defense systems to Syria.

On Sunday, the Israeli Defense Force said that the Israeli planes "did not hide behind any aircraft and... the Israeli aircraft were in Israeli airspace at the time of the downing of the Russian plane".

Russian Federation suspended the supply of an S-300 system at an earlier stage in the war, amid Israeli concerns that it could be used against it.

  • Rogelio Becker