The Russian Ministry of Defence has blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian antiaircraft artillery in the Mediterranean.
Russia's Tass news agency said an Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance plane had "disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province". It said that while Syrian anti-aircraft had mistakenly shot down the plane of a close ally, Israeli jets flying nearby had put the Russian jet in the path of danger, and it threatened to retaliate over what it called a hostile act.
Russia's decision to hold Israel accountable for the IL-20 incident could mean Russian Federation will take retaliatory measures against Israeli aircraft operating over Syria.
"Israel did not warn the command of the Russian troops in Syria about the planned operation", Konashenkov said. Some of the remains of the crew, along with personal belongings, have been located in the Mediterranean Sea, where the IL-20 came down the search and rescue operation is still underway.
"15 Russian military service people died because of Israel's "irresponsible actions", adding that it reserves the right to take appropriate measures after Israeli hostile actions".
Russian Federation has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and it has two military bases in the country, including one close to the Mediterranean coast.
Israeli military officials initially refused to comment on airstrikes being carried out in Latakia, though multiple news outlets, including Israeli newspapers, reported the area-which remains under the control of President Bashar al-Assad-was under heavy bombardment.
Sima Shine, a former senior Mossad official and ex-deputy director-general at Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry, told Israel's Army Radio station that the shooting down of the plane is problematic for many reasons.
Israel's air force confirmed its attack on Syria on Twitter on Tuesday, saying it attacked a weapons site that it believed Syria would have transferred to terrorist groups to fire on Israel.
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The incident triggered testy exchanges of blame between Israel and Russian Federation.
Russia's dramatic entry into the Syrian civil war in 2015 in support of the Syrian government, after a year of airstrikes by the US and its coalition partners against the Islamic State group, increased the specter of risky confrontations in the skies over Syria.
Netanyahu frequently travels to Russian Federation for talks with President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Syria issue. "As a result, the Il-20. was shot down by the (Syrian) S-200 missile system", the ministry's Konashenkov said. Israel has warned that it will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in postwar Syria.
In an initial statement, Russian Federation said: "The Israeli planes deliberately created a unsafe situation for surface ships and aircraft in the area".
"I think it will impose very serious restriction on Israel's freedom of activity", she said.
The incident presented Moscow with a diplomatic conundrum, as the country has a strong relationship with both Israel and the Syrian regime.
Russian Federation is also likely to provide enhanced assistance to the Syrian air defense system - either through additional equipment transfers or greater intelligence sharing and guidance - to make it more effective against Israeli attacks.
As the war in Syria rages on, Turkey and Russian Federation announced on Monday a joint agreement that will at least forestall an expected large-scale on Syria's Idlib province, now the last area controlled by rebel military factions facing off against the Syrian government.
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