Russians Certain Giving Syria S-300 Missiles Won't Upset Relations with Israel

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

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

The Russian government announced Monday that it would be sending Syria an S-300 surface-to-air missile system.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow would send Russia's powerful S-300 ground-to-air missile systems to Syria, a longtime ally, in the next two weeks.

Alexander Khramchikhin of the Moscow-based Institute of Military and Political Analysis said the S-300 could "seriously affect Israel's ability to carry out its strikes in Syria".

Moscow says Israeli F-16 planes which struck Latakia in western Syria on September 17 later used the landing Russian Il-20 surveillance plane as a "cover", which resulted in the Il-20 being struck by a Syrian air defence missile. Earlier in the war, Russian Federation suspended a supply of S-300, which Israel feared Syria could use against it. The crash was one of the deadliest incidents for regular Russian service members in the Syrian war.

Shoigu also said that Russia would equip Syrian air defense command posts with automated control systems, previously supplied only to the Russian armed forces.

According to the Syrian president's office, Putin told Assad the blame for the plane incident lay squarely with Israel.

Russian Federation had originally agreed to sell the system to Syria in 2010, but scrapped the plan at Israel's behest.

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Netanyahu also said that the two agreed to continue their security coordination. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman described Israel's actions leading to the shoot-down last week as "ungrateful", given what he said were Russian accommodations to Israeli requests, including relocating Iranian troops from the border of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and providing Russian patrols in the area.

The White House said it hoped Russian Federation would reconsider the move, which U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton called a "significant escalation" of Syria's seven-year war. "Everything had worked right up until the tragedy that occurred recently".

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

Putin told Netanyahu that the measures had been taken to prevent any threat to Russian troops in Syria, but Netanyahu apparently voiced his concern in transferring arms to "irresponsible hands".

Russian Federation launched its campaign in Syria to support President Bashar Assad in 2015 and though the involvement turned the tide of war in favor of Syrian government forces, Moscow has since played a careful balancing act, maintaining good ties both with Iran and Israel. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also said Russian Federation planned to jam radars of military planes striking from off the coast of the Mediterranean.

But Russia and Israel have steered clear of confronting each other.

Asked about Bolton's statement that US troops will stay in Syria as long as Iran forces and proxies are there, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, "Right now our troops inside Syria are there for one goal, and that's under the United Nations authorization about defeating Daesh". "It won't make them invulnerable to Israeli attacks, but it will make things more complicated and raise the risk of losses".

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