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Although Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Tuesday that there had been "a chain of tragic, accidental circumstances", he did complain to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "Russian-Israeli agreements on preventing risky incidents had not been observed".
Russia, along with Iran, has given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad support throughout the country's seven-year civil war, which began with a government crackdown on protesters in March 2011. "It's clear for all specialists that under cover of our Il-20 aircraft, a blow was struck, supposing that Syrian air defense systems wouldn't act in that direction", Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
"These weapons were meant to attack Israel, and posed an intolerable threat against it", the army added. Russian Federation has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit the area, and accused Israel of creating the unsafe conditions by failing to give sufficient advance notice.
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While offering his honest condolences, Assad blamed the death of the Russian soldiers on the "Israeli smugness and arrogance".
In a Thursday tweet, the Russian diplomatic mission pinned the blame for the recent accidental downing of the surveillance plane in Syria's Latakia Province on Israel's Air Force, which was conducting aerial assaults against Syrian army positions when the incident happened.
However, he insisted the Russian plane had been felled by "extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (fire)". Russian Federation has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit the area, and accused Israel of creating the unsafe conditions by failing to give sufficient advance notice.
The Russian leader urged Netanyahu "not to allow such situations in the future".
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Putin "reminded" Netanyahu that such operations "violated Syrian sovereignty" and said "agreements around the prevention of risky incidents were not observed". Indeed, the Russian Il-20 is the first inadvertent Russian casualty in Israel's efforts to roll back Iranian influence from near its borders.
But when pressed during the interview, Lieberman avoided asserting Israeli "freedom of action" over Syria, a term he has used in the past.
In general, regarding Iran's presence in Syria, the U.S. says Iran has to go.
While Putin's and Netanyahu's quick actions likely prevented an escalation in tensions, Russian Federation will have to respond in some way. "As for reciprocal action, this will be primarily aimed at ensuring additional security for our military and our facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic", Putin said. As the Post's Seth J. Frantzman noted in an analysis, Russia could have blamed Syrian air defense for the mistake, but these defenses are Russian-made, so blaming the equipment would have implied a problem with the technology.
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