Skip to Content

Map of the incident. Russian MoD

Russia accuses Israel of ‘staged provocation’ after plane is shot down

A Russian military plane carrying 14 personnel over the Mediterranean has “disappeared from radar” Russia’s defence ministry announced. Israel staged this "provocation" the Russian side said.

Published: September 18, 2018, 10:56 am

    It was one of Russia’s Il-20 turbo-prop planes used for electronic reconnaissance, shot down some 25 kilometres from the Syrian coastline.

    The plane’s disappearance comes in the wake of President Vladimir Putin declaring that Turkey and Russia have agreed to establish a demilitarised zone in Idlib by mid-October.

    Notably, Putin added that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from all opposition forces by October 10 – a move welcomed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Al Jazeera reported.

    This is effectively a ceasefire, with both countries conducting joint patrols towards the de-escalation in Idlib. The announcement was made on Monday during a press conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Putin hosted his Turkish counterpart, President Erdogan.

    Russia’s Defence Minister Shoigu also announced that there will be no military operation in Idlib. Shoigu held the memorandum on the Idlib settlement signed by him and his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar in his hands for the media.

    The downed Russian plane was said to be returning to its home base at the Hmeymim airfield in Latakia province, an area that was under attack by four Israeli F-16 jets at the time.

    The Russian ministry of defence initially implicated France and Israel. Russian news agency TASS noted: “The trace of the Il-20 on flight control radars disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province. At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region”.

    But a French army spokesman denied “any involvement in this attack”. An Israeli military spokeswoman stated: “We don’t comment on foreign reports.”

    The Russian plane may have been “inadvertently shot down” by the government trying to stop an Israeli missile attack, CNN reported.

    The military aircraft was actually shot down by the Syrian air defense over the Mediterranean Sea because Israel’s F-16 fighters used it as a cover, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov explained to the media on Tuesday morning.

    “By using the Russian plane as a cover the Israeli air pilots made it vulnerable to Syrian air defense fire. As a result, the Ilyushin-20, its reflective surface being far greater than that of F-16, was downed by a missile launched with the S-200 system,” Konashenkov said.

    Moreover, Israel had issued no suitable warning to the Russian command of their forthcoming operation.

    The Israeli planes deliberately created a dangerous situation for ships and aircraft in the area, Konashenkov added. Israeli command centers and F-16s’ pilots could clearly “see the Russian plane, which was approaching the runway from an altitude of five kilometers”, he said.

    “Nevertheless they deliberately staged this provocation.”

    Syrian forces had sent out an urgent search and rescue call over an international frequency leading to an unidentified country alerting the US about the type of aircraft and that the plane had been shot down.

    The Russian ministry said Israel knew that that they were setting up the Russian plane. “We received a notification via a hotline less than a minute before the strike, which did not allow the Russian aircraft to be directed to a safe zone,” according to Konashenkov.

    The Russian side warned that they now reserved the right of response.

    “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership,” the statement read. “We reserve the right for an adequate response.”

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Middle East

    Taking money from murderers

    WashingtonSaudi Arabia employs - through consultants - a host of retired American generals, diplomats, intelligence experts that get paid exorbitant amounts of money.

    German analyst: ‘Saudi Arabia the most dedicated sponsor of terror’

    Saudi Arabia has been repeatedly accused of funding terrorism all over the world, including in Syria and Iran. Research by Edward Clifford in his book "Financing Terrorism: Saudi Arabia and Its Foreign Affairs", has shown the extent of Saudi support for terror.

    Russia to equip Syrian Army with S-300 air defence within two weeks

    MoscowThe Syrian army will be equipped with Russia S-300 air-defense missiles within the next two weeks following the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft in Syria, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.

    Trump’s revised policy on Syria means staying

    James Jeffrey, the US State Department’s special representative for Syria, has spelled out the Trump administration’s policy towards Syria quite clearly.

    US Secretary of Defense lacks basic intel on jihadists in Idlib

    The US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, seems to lack some basic intelligence that the UN and the US Department of State have already seen.

    Could someone please tell Trump who the bad guys are in Syria?

    US National Security Adviser John Bolton is reported to have told his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, that the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad is once again allegedly preparing to use chemical weapons against his own people.

    Will it be BRICS or BRICTS?

    JohannesburgThis year’s BRICS Summit created a stir when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that he wants to add a "T" to the acronym, making them the BRICTS.

    UK-funded White Helmets evacuated from Syria

    The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that they had evacuated members of an unnamed local "civil organization at the request of the United States and some European countries" from southern Syria. CNN reported, citing sources on Monday, that White Helmets and their families were evacuated from Syria.

    Assad accuses Western powers of ‘PR stunt’ pretext to attack Syria

    Syria's President Assad has accused three Western powers of orchestrating a "PR stunt" to give them a pretext to attack Syria.

    South African Jews furious about withdrawal of ambassador to Israel

    PretoriaThe South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the SA Zionist Federation have expressed great anger with the South African government’s decision to withdraw the country’s ambassador to Israel following the attacks in Gaza.

    Go to archive