Putin pledges to send Syria missiles, enraging Israel and US

Putin pledges to send Syria missiles, enraging Israel and US

Russia's military Sunday blamed "misleading" information from the Israeli airforce for the downing of one of its planes in Syria last week, and denounced the "adventurism" of Israeli pilots. Putin says "a chain of tragic circumstances" is to be blamed for a Russian military aircraft shot down by a Syrian missile. The Syrian missiles were defending against Israeli planes that were bombing Iranian targets in Syria.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that President Vladimir Putin ordered additional security measures after a Syrian Soviet-era S-200 missile shot down the Russian military plane by mistake, killing 15, in an incident last Monday that Moscow blames on Israel.

The messages underscore the complexities facing U.S. policymakers as they deal with the various conflicts that have ripped Syria apart since 2011, and how deeply the U.S., Russia, Iran and Israel have been drawn into the conflict that began as street protests against the Assad regime.

An official report from Moscow has laid the blame squarely at Israel's feet, however, raising the prospect that Russian Federation will close Syrian airspace to Israeli aircraft.

"A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be transferred to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks", he added.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia's decision to deliver an S-300 was not targeted against anyone and was aimed exclusively to protect Russian troops in Syria.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday that he hopes Russian Federation will reconsider supplying missiles to Syria, noting that it is a would be a "major mistake" and "significant escalation".

Israel has been vocal in its opposition to deployment of the S-300 missile systems in Syria, warning that they would strike the defenses if they were used against Israeli forces.

"Today, the situation has changed, for no fault of ours", Shoigu said in a televised statement Monday announcing the S-300 deliveries. "It could cause a reaction by Israel or the USA, including attempts to destroy the system before it's operational".

In areas adjacent to Syria over the Mediterranean, Russia will carry out radio-electronic suppression of satellite navigation, airborne radars and communications systems of combat aircraft attempting to attack facilities on the Syrian territory, Shoigu also said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that he disagreed with the Israeli version of events concerning the downing of a Russian plane over Syria last week, the Kremlin said.

The "adventurism" of the Israeli military could have endangered civilian planes which use the same airspace to land at the nearby Hmeimim aerodrome, the officer said. Then, "one minute" after Israel's call, its F-16 planes struck targets in Latakia in western Syria, he said.

Putin spoke to Assad by phone Monday and informed him of the plan to provide the missiles, the Kremlin said in a statement.

So far Israel has enjoyed relative freedom of action in its air campaign in Syria, in part a result of the good relations Netanyahu has nurtured with Putin.

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