14:33 GMT04 December 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's decision to supply advanced S-300 air defense systems to Syria should not affect the relations between Russia and Israel, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov stated.

    "I do not think so, it should not," Bogdanov told reporters when asked whether the S-300 supplies would have a negative impact on the Russian-Israeli relations.

    He added that it was Russia's and Syria's sovereign right to supply and purchase weapons.

    Il-20 was 22 miles off the Syrian coast when it was shot down while returning to the Hmeymim airbase. At the same time, four Israeli F-16 jets were bombing Syrian targets in Latakia.

    READ MORE: Russia, Israel Should Review Deal on Preventing Incidents in Air — Expert

    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Israel notified Russia of the airstrikes only a minute before their start and provided misleading information concerning the area of the attack and the location of Israeli F-16 jets. The incident claimed the lives of 15 Russian servicemen.

    A member of the Russian parliament's upper house's defense committee, Frants Klintsevich, in his turn, has dubbed Moscow's decision to deliver its S-300 air defense systems to Syria "a forced step."

    "This is a forced step… It is clear that this measure by Russia is directly related to the Il-20 downing and Israel's reluctance to admit responsibility for the tragedy in the Syrian airspace," Klintsevich indicated.

    The Russian senator also accused the Israeli military of further escalating the situation by its pledges to continue its airstrikes in Syria.

    "In other words, this means that there are no guarantees that the incident will not happen again… We have no other choice. We waited as long as it was possible, hoping for Israel's understanding. Unfortunately, this did not happen," Klintsevich stressed.

    READ MORE: Russian MoD Has Compelling Evidence to Back Up Account of Il-20's Last Moments

    Earlier in the day, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia would supply Syria with S-300 air defense systems as part of Moscow's newly-adopted

    measures aimed at increasing security of Russian servicemen following the crash of a Russian Il-20 military aircraft on September 17.

    The Russian Defense Ministry has put the blame for the downing on the Israeli Air Force that was carrying out an air operation against Syrian forces in the Latakia province at the time of the incident, saying that the Israeli jets used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems.


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    air defense system, purchase, aircraft, weapons, S-300 air defense system, Il-20, Israel, Syria, Russia
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