MOSCOW, September 18. /TASS/. The Kremlin promises to analyze the shooting down of Russia’s Ilyushin-20 plane and expresses concern, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told the media.
"As for our plane that has been shot down, I can only say that the Kremlin is extremely worried in connection with this incident," Peskov told the media.
He added that "the full evaluation of the incident is available in the Defense Ministry’s statement."
Peskov refrained from any comments or speculations regarding the likely effects on Russia’s relations with Israel.
"The situation is being analyzed. The first comments have been offered in the Defense Ministry’s statement. The evaluation was unequivocal and the actions were described as provocative," Peskov said. "There is no need for adding anything to the clear statement made by our Defense Ministry. Everything else will follow later."
Asked if there were any plans for President Vladimir Putin’s telephone conversation with the Israeli leadership, Peskov said he had "nothing to add to what I’ve already said about the presidential timetable."
Russian Defense Ministry's statement
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media on Tuesday that at about 22:00 on September 17 four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked Syrian facilities in the area of Latakia, Syria with guided bombs. The planes approached the targets from the Mediterranean at a low altitude.
"The Israeli jets used the Russian plane as a cover, thus exposing it to Syrian air defense fire. As a result, the Ilyushin-20, its reflective surface being far greater than that of Ilyushin-20, was shot down by a missile launched with the S-200 system."
"We regard these provocative actions by Israel as hostile," Konashenkov said. "As a result of irresponsible actions by the Israeli military 15 Russian military servicemen were killed. This by no means agrees with the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right to a proportionate response," he added.