A Russian IL-20 military aircraft heading to the Hmeymim airbase went off radar late on September 17 during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia.
The downing of the Russian Il-20 plane looks like “a chain of tragic circumstances,” Vladimir Putin said in response to a reporter’s question on whether it could be compared to Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet in 2015.
“When people are dying – especially under such circumstances – it is always a tragedy,” President Putin said during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Moscow on Tuesday.
Responding to a reporter’s question as to whether the incident in Latakia could be compared to the downing of the Russian Su-24 by Turkey in 2015, Putin said the two situations were “different.”
Ankara “deliberately downed” the Russian jet, he explained, while the Il-20 incident “looks like a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn’t shoot down our jet.”
Russia will investigate the incident, Putin said, adding that Moscow will boost security of Russian troops in Syria following the incident.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told TASS that the president is likely to hold phone talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Tuesday.
The Russian Defense Ministry had said earlier that Russia’s Hmeymim Airbase had lost contact with the crew of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft with 14 servicemen on board late on Monday. The ministry has shared a map of the area of the accident.
“On September 17, at about 11 p.m. Moscow time [20:00 GMT], the communication with the crew of the Russian Il-20 aircraft was lost when it was over the Mediterranean Sea, some 35 kilometers from the Syrian coast, on its way back to Hmeymim airbase,” the report said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Tuesday that Israel did not shoot down a Russian military reconnaissance plane with 15 people on board, saying the downing of the plane by Syrian air defenses was a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances.”
“It rather looks like a chain of tragic accidental circumstances,” Putin told reporters, rejecting any comparisons with the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey in 2015.
Trump Reacts to Russian Il-20 Downing in Syria
US President Donald Trump has commented on the accident with Russian Il-20 aircraft accidentally downed by Syrian forces amid Israeli attack, calling it “very sad”.
Netanyahu Offers All Necessary Info to Investigate Incident with Downed Russian Il-20
“Netanyahu expressed regret over the death of Russian servicemen and said that Syria is responsible for the crash of the aircraft,” Netanyahu’s office said in a press release.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to keep acting against Iran during the talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussing the incident with downed Il-20 in Syria.
In addition, Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s determination to counter the Iranian military presence in Syria.
Latakia came under fire earlier today in a missile attack military sources said come from the direction of the sea. The Russian Defense Ministry in its statement about the missing plane identified four Israeli F-16 airplanes as part of the attack on Latakia. Personnel at Hmeymim airbase have organized a search and rescue operation.
Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson refused to comment on the plane disappearance. After taking a break for a consultation with the command, the spokesperson said that IDF doesn’t comment on reports from abroad.
Earlier on Monday, Syrian media reported a missile attack on the Syrian city of Latakia. A source told Sputnik that there were drones and missiles involved in the attack. Another source from Syrian military said that the missile attack on the coastal city was made from the sea.