ZAKHAROVA: ISRAEL IS COWARDLY AND ‘TO BLAME’ IN DOWNING OF IL-20

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Israel’s “wrong, unprofessional and cowardly” actions have resulted in the downing of the Russian Il-20 in Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. In her capacity as spokeswoman, she has reiterated the Foreign Ministry line that Israel is ultimately to blame for this ‘tragedy’.

“The tragedy occurred on September 17, after the erroneous, unprofessional and cowardly actions by one of our partners, despite Russia’s efforts to develop a relationship with Israel, including when it comes to issues of importance to them,” Zakharova told Italian magazine Panorama. At the same time, the diplomat also pointed to the positive changes that have taken place in Syria, such as the defeat of most of the terrorist groups operating in the Middle East country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier in the week that he had agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the military delegations of the two countries would meet soon to discuss the coordination of actions in Syria.

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The Russian military aircraft IL-20 was downed on September 17th in the Mediterranean Sea by a missile launched by the Syrian air defense system S-200, which was looking at Israeli aircraft, according to the official story. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the nearby F-16 fighter jets used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defenses. The incident claimed the lives of 15 Russian military personnel.

Israel refuted the accusations of its planes using the Russian plane as a shield and claims that Moscow was warned about the air strike in a timely manner.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly that the incident with the Russian plane crashed in Syria could have caused “more serious consequences,” according to Israeli state radio Kan. But he did not detail his words.

Netanyahu also stressed that the country will continue to act against the increase in Iran’s military presence in Syria and at the same time plans to maintain dialogue with Moscow. However, FRN understands that this is both an empty and nevertheless illegal pretext for Israel’s war crimes against Syria. Syria is a sovereign state, and by standards of international law and the foundations of the UN, can have any army it so desires on its own soil, for whatever purpose it deems necessary, provided those actions take place within Syria. Additionally, as Syria is under attack by an international coalition co-led by Israel among others, it has further and additional legal remedies at its disposal in fact to act against Israel. Under standards of international law, it would be entirely legal for Syria to strike at Israel’s bases and regional military assets located anywhere, as Israel is the aggressor state and Syria is acting in its own defense.

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