Russia’s foreign minister said that Moscow hopes Israel will “exercise good judgement” following Moscow’s delivery of the S-300 missile defense system to Syria.
Sergei Vershinin made the comments to Russia’s Sputnik news agency two days after Russia confirmed the arrival of the advanced surface-to-air missile defense system in Syria.
Vershinin added that the delivery of the S-300 systems would be followed by additional steps, but did not provide any further details on the steps.
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Press TV reports: The decision to deliver the system came after the accidental downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft with 15 servicemen on board by Syria’s S-200 air defense systems which were at the time responding to a wave of Israeli strikes on state institutions in Latakia.
Moscow held Israel responsible for the September 17 incident, saying the regime’s pilots had intentionally used the Russian plane as cover to conduct air raids, effectively putting it in the cross hairs of the Syrian air defenses.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last Sunday that Russia went ahead with the shipment because “the situation has changed, and it’s not our fault.”
He also said that Russia would start to electronically jam aircraft flying in to attack targets in Syria. “We are convinced that these measures will calm down some hotheads and keep them from careless actions which pose a threat to our troops,” Shoigu said.
The delivery provoked heavy criticism by the Israeli regime, which considers it a threat to its illegal airstrikes on Syria, and the US, which believes the shipment “was a needless escalation.”
US Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees US forces in the Middle East, claimed the deployment appeared to be an effort by Moscow to help shield “nefarious activities” by Iranian and Syrian forces in the country.
“So, again, I think this is a needless, needless escalation,” Votel told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Votel also took a swipe at Iran’s presence in Syria, claiming that countries in the region “had good reason to be concerned about Iran’s activities in Syria.”
“We believe they are moving lethal capabilities into Syria that threaten neighbors in the region,” he said.