The Russian military aircraft IL-20 was downed over the Mediterranean Sea by Syrian air defense system as Israeli F-16 fighter aircrafts hid behind the Russian aircraft. Ihor Konashenkov, the official representative of Russia's Defense Ministry claimed this as TASS reported.
"Hiding behind the Russian aircraft, the Israeli pilots placed it under the fire of the Syrian air defense system. In the result of it, IL-20 that have more effective reflecting surface than F-16 was downed by an S-200 missile," the general said.
Konashenkov claimed that on September 17, about 22:00, four F-16 fighter aircrafts of Israel struck the Syrian objects near Latakia with controlled air bombs. The inbound to targets took place at low altitude from the side of the Mediterranean Sea.
According to the general, the Israeli aircraft intentionally created the dangerous situation for the surface ships and aviation in this area.
"The bombing was held not far from the location of the French frigate Auvergne and in the immediate area of IL-20 of Russia's Aerospace Forces that was landing," Konashenkov said.
He also noted that the Israeli management of air assets and F-16 pilots "could not but see the Russian aircraft that was landing from the height 5 km."
"However, they intentionally started this provocation," he said.
Konashenkov also noted that Israel did not warn the command of the Russian grouping of troops in Syria about the planned operation.
"The notification on "hot line" was received less than in a minute before the strike and it did not allow to withdraw the Russian aircraft to the safe zone."
Russia considered the actions of Israel as hostile and reserves the right for the response against Israel.
"We consider such provocative actions of Israel as hostile. In the result of the irresponsible acts of the Israeli military men, 15 Russian soldiers died. It is absolutely not in the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right for the adequate response," the general claimed.
At the same time, Israeli Embassy in Moscow refused to comment the statement of Russia's Defense Ministry as Interfax reported.
Earlier several airstrikes were launched at Syrian port Lattakia. Russian Defence Ministry informed that IL-20 with 14 military servicemen got lost. It supposed to have been back at the Russian base Humaimam, Syria.
Earlier, as a result of Russia’s airstrikes at Syrian province Idlib 13 people died. Later, Russia claimed to be continuing bombardments in Idlib, “if necessary”.