Sat, 15 Dec 2018
-4
Moscow

Russia will supply Syria with a more modern S-300 missile defense system in the coming weeks, Moscow said Monday.

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said President Vladimir Putin ordered the upgrade after a Syrian Soviet-era S-200 shot down a Russian plane last Tuesday, killing all 15 people on board. Russia has blamed Israel, whose military was conducting airstrikes on Syria at the time, for the incident.

'[Russia will] transfer the modern S-300 air defense system to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks.'

Russia has said the S-200 system is not advanced enough for the Syrian military to distinguish Russian planes as friendly ones.

Shoigu said in a televised statement, 'This has pushed us to adopt adequate response measures directed at boosting the security of Russian troops' in Syria.

Last week, Russian military spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Israeli forces were carrying out an attack in Syria's Latakia province when they hid behind the Russian plane, using it to shield themselves from Syrian missiles.

FILE - A photo taken on July 23, 2006 shows an Russian IL-20M plane landing at an unknown location.

Putin has since said that 'a chain of tragic circumstances' lead to the downing of the plane.

Israel said it had warned Russia of the airstrike in advance, and its jets were already back in Israeli airspace when Syria fired its missile.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Israel's warning came less than a minute before the airstrike. It accused the Israelis of using the Russian plane as a cover to avoid Syrian air defense systems.

While Putin did not appear to blame Israel outright for causing the Russian plane to be shot down, the Kremlin said it told Netanyahu that Israel had violated Syrian sovereignty and urged it 'not to let such situations happen again.'

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