The Russian Defense Ministry has issued a statement Tuesday clarifying the fate of an Il-20 plane reported shot down off the coast of Syria the night before. Officials now confirm it was shot down by a Syrian S-200 missile, but that it was the fault of Israeli F-16 warplanes.
Four Israeli F-16s attacked Syria’s coastline from offshore, and the defense ministry says the jets used the larger Russian surveillance plane as “cover” during the attack, and when the air defense system tried to target the Israeli attackers, they hit the Russian plane by mistake, killing 15 Russian service members.
The Israeli military insisted this entirely wasn’t their fault, and that Syria is “fully responsible.” In later statements, they blamed Iran and Hezbollah as well, saying that Israel was attacking a weapons factory in Latakia.
Russia is clearly not happy, saying they reserve the right to “respond accordingly.” It’s not clear what that will mean, but Russia has repeatedly, publicly warned Israel to stay away from Latakia, and this is likely to do substantial harm to Russia-Israel ties.