Russian Ministry of Defence spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov announced that Israel was guilty of downing the Russian aircraft Il-20, during a briefing in Moscow on Sunday.

"We believe that the blame for the tragedy with the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft lies entirely with the Israeli air forces and those who made the decision to carry out such actions," he said.

Konashenkov also remarked that in the area, civilian passenger flight was using that airspace and therefore the Israeli side could have created a dangerous situation for them as well.

Konashenkov added that "Israel did not inform the Russian force about its operation in advance - but rather they issued a warning simultaneously with the beginning of the strikes, which constitutes a breach of the existing agreements."

The Il-20 was downed by Syrian anti-aircraft missile systems confused by Israeli air forces, which used the radar cover of the Russian Il-20 aircraft.

"It was impossible for the Israeli pilot not to be aware of the fact that the Ilyushin Il-20 has a much larger radar cross-section than that of a F-16 jet and because of that, the Russian aircraft would be the preferred target for the anti-aircraft missile," he added.

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Associated Press 25 May 2019 14:22 CEST

Today in History May 25