Russia sends missiles to boost Syrian air defences

Russia again says Israel is to blame for the downing of its military plane by Syrian forces - Los Angeles Time

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday that Moscow would supply its ally with an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, Assad's office said in a statement.

Russia announced earlier Monday that it would give Syria's government more modern, S-300 missile defense systems after last week's downing of a Russian plane by Syria in a friendly fire incident.

"This forced us to take an adequate response aimed at improving the security of Russian troops performing tasks to combat worldwide terrorism in Syria", he said at the briefing in Moscow on Monday.

Russia is to send new anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, a week after Syrian forces accidentally shot down a Russian aircraft during an Israeli air strike.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's office said: "President Putin held Israel responsible for bringing down the plane and informed President Assad that Russian Federation will develop Syria's air defence systems". Russian Federation will also jam the electronic communications of aircraft attacking targets in Syria, he said.

"We are convinced the implementation of these measures will cool "hotheads" and deter unreasonable actions that threaten our servicemen".

Israel's disputes the Russian findings and says its jets were back in Israeli airspace when the plane was downed. Russian forces backing the Assad regime and members of the USA coalition battling the Islamic State in Syria have maintained an uneasy detente since the beginning of coalition operations in the country four years ago.

The Russian military aircraft was downed by Syrian government missile defense systems, killing all 15 people on board.

Russian Federation and Israel have been getting along surprisingly well considering that they are on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war.

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"We will do what is necessary to defend Israel's security", Netanyahu said.

The data has been retrieved from Russia's S-400 air defense system deployed at the Russian Khmeimim air base in Syria's Latakia province.

But Russian anger over the incident in Syria still remains a major issue for Israel, especially since it could complicate IDF efforts to block Iranian military activities north of Israel's northern border.

Israel strongly disputed the assertion and vowed it will continue to act against Iranian targets in neighboring Syria.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "According to information from our military experts, this tragedy was caused by deliberate actions by Israeli pilots, which certainly can not but damage our relations". One former military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that USA pilots had several incidents over the years where Syrian systems would launch missiles as they were flying overhead, but nothing came close to hitting a US jet.

Bolton said a political process was needed to end Syria's war but that Russia's plans with the S-300 made that hard.

There were rumours in late April, just weeks after the US, Britain, and France launched strikes on Syria from both air and sea, about the possible provision of Russian S-300 anti-missile batteries to the Syrian regime.

Russian plans with regard to the S-300, which the United States also opposes, will be an important part of that conversation.

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