Putin says loss of a Russian warplane to Syria's air defense during an Israeli attack was due to ‘tragic accidental circumstances’
Moscow has blamed Israel for the destruction of an Ilyushin Il-20 Russian military surveillance plane by Syrian air defense and the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen aboard the aircraft. According to Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, four Israeli F-16s bombed the city of Lattakia on the evening of September 17, without warning Moscow, “creating a dangerous situation for surface ships and aircraft in the area.” The Israeli jets allegedly used the Ilyushin Il-20 as cover against Syrian air defense, resulting in a Syrian S-200 missile striking and destroying the Russian plane.
“We regard these provocative actions by Israel as hostile,” Konashenkov warned, adding that Russia “reserves the right to respond adequately.”
Wreckage of the Ilyushin Il-20 was discovered roughly 17 miles west of Lattakia.
Update: Israel has weighed in on the downed plane.
Update 2: Vladimir Putin said Russia will respond to the downing of the Ilyushin Il-20 with “steps that are apparent to everyone,” while cautioning the public against comparing the incident to the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet deliberately shot down by the Turkish Air Force in November 2015. “Here, it appears to resemble more closely a chain of tragic accidental circumstances, because an Israeli plane did not shoot down our plane,” Putin said.