Russian Federation claims S-300 may close parts of Syrian airspace

Saul Bowman
September 26, 2018

"We will continue to act to prevent the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, and continue the security coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and Russian army", Netanyahu told reporters.

Israeli and Russian military officials are scheduled to meet in order to address the growing rift between the two countries following the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli airstrike last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu said that transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region, and added that Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests", Netanyahu's office said in a statement after a call between the leaders.

Russia squarely blamed Israel for the incident, in which 15 Russian crew were killed, citing that the Israeli air force provided misleading information about the location of its airstrikes on the sites in Syria, preventing the Russian aircraft from flying to a safe zone. Shoigu said it was one of the counter-measures to maintain security in Syria's airspace after the loss of the Ilyushin-20 plane.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the S-300 missile defense systems will be delivered to Damascus within two weeks.

Putin held Israel responsible for the accident, in which the Russian aircraft was shot down by the Syrian air defenses.

Earlier Tuesday, Israel's security cabinet instructed the IDF to continue to act against Iran's attempts to establish a military foothold in Syria while keeping the security coordination with Russian Federation. But the Russian military came out on Sunday, renewing the accusations against Israel.

While Russia is saying the S-300s are meant to make Russian planes safer, since they are more accurate, they are a massive upgrade to Syria's existing S-200 systems. "We will do what is necessary to defend the security of Israel", he said.

Frequently, Syria responds to these strikes with air defense fire against Israeli fighter jets.

The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu-who has traveled to Moscow to confer with Putin three times so far this year-has the narrower perspective of seeking to throw its military weight around outside its borders with impunity. "This is why in this case, Russian Federation is guided exclusively by these interests, these actions are not directed against third countries, they are meant to protect our own troops", the Kremlin spokesman noted.

This crisis has threatened the coordination between the countries' militaries, with potentially serious implications for the Israel Defense Forces' ability to fight Iran in Syria.

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.

"The S-300 is one of the world's most advanced and sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and yes it is a challenge for us", Oren said.

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