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Former envoy: Israel-Russia crisis artificial, driven by anti-Semitism

Former envoy: Israel-Russia crisis artificial, driven by anti-Semitism

According to the Russian defense ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate.

"We are trying to find every place we can where there is common ground, where we can work with the Russians", adding that there were many areas where Moscow was working against the United States and "we will hold them accountable". General Amikam Norkin, Commander of the Israeli Air Force, presented in Moscow an extensive report on the incident, which left no doubt about the clean execution of the Israeli air strike, but for many Russians such technical details are of little relevance. Russia laid the blame squarely on Israel, saying that its fighter jets had pushed the Russian plane into the line of Syria's fire.

The Kremlin also stressed that providing Damascus with the S-300 systems will help protect Russian aircraft from further friendly fire incidents and "is not directed against third nations".

"It is quite clear that the missile was targeting the Israeli jet", he noted.

The data also proves wrong the claims earlier made by the Israeli military.

The downing of the plane came just hours after Russia announced it had reached a deal with Turkey to avert a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive against the northwestern province of Idlib, controlled by a mix of radical groups and Turkey-backed armed opposition.

The Russian government tried to deliver the same system to Assad in April but backtracked after an outcry by Israel and other countries involved in the Syrian war. On top of that, the Russian military will start using electronic countermeasures to jam any aircraft that would try to launch attacks off Syria's coast.

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Analysts say they believe Russian Federation and Israel will eventually move past the incident without severely limiting Israel's freedom of action in Syria, where it has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets.

Russian Federation said it would supply the Syrian army with an S-300 air defence system and would jam radars of hostile warplanes.

This dispute and its accompanying ill will are unlikely to lead to fundamental changes either in military operations in Syria or in Russian-Israeli diplomacy.

"The actions of the Israeli fighter pilots, which resulted in the loss of life of 15 Russian servicemen, either lacked professionalism or were an act of criminal negligence, to say the least", the Russian ministry said.

The deployment of the S-300 would reduce Israel's ability to strike targets in Syria, although how much would depend on the number of batteries and the skill of the crews that would man them, said Nikolay Surkov, a senior researcher at the Moscow-based International Institute for World Economy and International Relations. Basically, he said, it is "to give the Russians a heads-up when you want to bomb Iranians or Hezbollah in Syria so we don't shoot at you, but don't go beyond that target set".

Is Russia taking over Syria's air defences?

"The party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran", he said.

On Sunday, Moscow formally accused Israel of "an act of criminal negligence" by failing to inform Russian Federation of an imminent attack on targets in Syria.