Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20M .
(photo credit: KIRILL NAUMENKO/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Russia has announced that it has radar data proving that Israeli jets hid behind the Il-20 to shield them from Syrian anti-aircraft missiles last week.
"Today, we will give additional data available to the Russian defense ministry to track the Israeli planes and the S-200 system’s missile literally second-by-second,” said Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov.
The data was gathered from the radars of the command and control post of the S-400 missile system deployed by Russia at the Hmeymim airbase in the coastal province of Latakia.
Moscow has placed the blame for last week's downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane on Israel
, accusing it of using the IL-20 as cover to carry out the strikes on targets in Syria.
Israel’s military - which sent a delegation of senior air force officials headed by IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin to Moscow to present the IDF’s investigation into the incident - has flatly denied using the Il-20 as cover and has stated that all Israeli jets were back in Israeli airspace when the plane was hit.
Konashenkov said on Monday that the data from the Russian S-400 fire control system showed that at least one Israeli jet flew at an altitude of 10,000 meters and that the radar system recorded the flight of a Syrian S-200 missile which was targeting the IAF F-16 but then changed its direction to target the Il-20.
"Today's data no longer suggests, but clearly proves that the blame for the tragedy with the Russian Il-20 aircraft lies entirely with the Israeli air force and with those who authorized this kind of activity," he said.
Konashenkov again refuted Israel’s claims that all jets had left Syrian airspace prior to the incident showing a slide depicting the incident that one IAF jet remained in the area after the reconnaissance plane was hit.
"The signal from the Russian Il-20 disappeared from the radar. But I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Israeli F-16’s are still in this area, with one of them being in direct vicinity of the site of the incident. Please note that the number of this air target of the Israeli F-16 has changed. It means that it had changed the direction and altitude of the flight immediately after the incident. It is clearly recorded by the S-400’s radars," Konashenkov stressed.
Israel has placed the blame for the incident squarely on the Syrian regime which shot the Russian-made anti-aircraft battery during an Israeli airstrike by F-16 fighter jets on a Syrian military facility near the coastal city of Latakia on Monday night.
Following the downing of the jet Moscow announced it would supply Syria with the advanced S-300 missile defense system and impose electronic countermeasures over Syria’s coastline which would suppress satellite navigation, on-board radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.
Russia’s Izvestia News reported that the first set of Russian electronic systems have already been sent to Hmeimim Airbase in Latakia on a Il-76 plane and will be used by Russian forces stationed there. According to the report, Russian President Vladimir Putin notified Syrian President Bashar Assad about the transfer of the systems on Monday during a phone call.
Both Israel and the United States have warned against the supply of the S-300, which according to Russia’s Kommersant newspaper would see four batteries sent to Syria in the next two weeks and another possible six to eight sent at a later date.
The report added that the system, which is able to track multiple targets simultaneously at a range of 300km. would be deployed along the borders of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
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