Executive Intelligence Review


Russia’s Defense Minister Shoigu on Israeli Responsibility for Downing of Russian Ilyushin-20

Sept. 24, 2018 (EIRNS)—In a hard-hitting briefing this morning, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu promised to take “adequate” measures to increase the security of Russian airmen after the Israeli Air Force used the Russian II-20 electronic surveillance plane as a shield, which led to the Syrian anti-aircraft striking of that plane.

Shoigu announced that Russia will deliver its S-300 air defense system to Syria within two weeks, according to Sputnik.

“It is capable of intercepting air threats at a range of more than 250 km and simultaneously hitting several aerial targets,” Shoigu said, stating that it will significantly boost Syria’s combat capabilities. He also announced that Syrian air defense command posts would be equipped with the “automatic system” (up to now supplied only to the Russian air forces) that would ensure the centralized management of all Syrian defense forces, monitoring the situation in the airspace, and prompt target designation, and ensure the identification of all Russian aircraft by Syrian defense forces.

Shoigu sent a warning to Israeli, and other foreign military aircraft operating illegally in Syrian airspace, saying Russia

“will jam satellite navigation, onboard radars and communication systems of combat aircraft, which attacks targets in Syrian territory, in regions over the Mediterranean Sea bordering on Syria.”

Shoigu very pointedly said that Moscow had halted the delivery of S-300s to Syria back in 2013 at Israel’s request, but now that situation has changed “through no fault of Russia.” Shoigu said four Israeli F-16 jets used the Russian II-20 aircraft as a shield, which resulted in the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of 15 Russian airmen. He said that if such measures fail to cool “hotheads, we will have to respond in line with the situation.”

As of this writing, the Israeli Embassy in Russia has failed to respond publicly to Shoigu’s statements. Earlier this week, Russia’s Defense Ministry accused the Israeli Air Force of providing misleading information about the area of planned airstrikes on Syrian targets, thereby violating its agreement with Russia, and, shortly afterward, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would continue its military operations against Iran’s presence in Syria despite the downing: “We won’t let Syria be turned into a main Iranian military facility against the Israeli state. We continue to act.”