Russia warns Israel of ‘response’ after plane downed over Syria

Moscow, Sep 18: Russia’s defence minister warned his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday that Moscow could respond to the downing of a Russian plane over Syria, as he laid “full” blame on Israel’s air force.
“The full blame for the shot-down Russian plane and death of the crew is on the Israeli side,” Sergei Shoigu told Avigdor Lieberman in a phone call, according to a ministry statement.
Russia has “repeatedly called on Israel to refrain from strikes on Syrian territory which endanger the safety of Russian servicemen”, Shoigu added.
“Actions by the Israeli military are not in the spirit of the Russia-Israel partnership and we reserve the right to future response measures,” he said.
Russia has launched a search and rescue operation where the plane crashed into the Mediterranean about 27 kilometres (17 miles) west of the coastal town Baniyas in Latakia province.
Some remains of the crew members and plane debris have been picked up by the Russian navy, the ministry said.
The incident which killed 15 Russian servicemen happened just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to establish a demilitarised zone around rebel hub Idlib in order to stave off a military assault. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday that the plane’s downing will not have any impact on the agreement. (Agencies)