Widespread Russian-Israeli cooperation revealed

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‘WE BELIEVE that the blame for the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force,’ Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, told journalists yesterday.

The plane was shot down on September 17th by the Syrian air defence units as Israeli F-16s effectively used it as a cover during the attack on its neighbour. The Israeli Air Force gave the Russian side less than a minute’s warning before dropping the precision-guided glide bombs, leaving virtually no time for any safety manoeuvres, Konashenkov said, calling such actions ‘a clear violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements which are aimed at preventing clashes between our armed forces.’

Moreover, the Israeli military failed to provide the location of their jets or properly specify their targets, claiming they were going to attack several ‘industrial facilities’ in northern Syria, close to the Il-20’s area of operation.

The misinformation prompted the Russian Command to order the reconnaissance plane back to the Khmeimim air base. The Israeli jets, however, instead almost immediately attacked the western Syrian Latakia province.

Russia has sent as many as 310 notifications to the Israeli Air Force Command, while the latter appeared to be reluctant to show the same level of commitment, notifying only 25 times even though its jets carried out more than 200 strikes against targets located in Syria over the past 18 months alone.

‘This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that has been done by the Russian Federation for Israel and the Israeli people recently,’ Konashenkov said. The Russian military supported the Syrian military operation in the Golan Heights to ‘ensure there were no shelling attacks on Israeli territory’ anymore, thus allowing the UN peacekeeping mission to resume patrolling of the contested border between Syria and Israel after ‘a six-year hiatus’.

Russia also managed to secure the withdrawal of all Iran-backed groups from the Golan Heights to a ‘safe distance for Israel’, more than 140km to the east of Syria, the spokesperson said, adding that this was done at the request of Tel Aviv. ‘A total of 1,050 personnel, 24 MLRSs and tactical missiles, as well as 145 pieces of other munitions and military equipment were withdrawn from the area,’ Konashenkov told journalists.

In 2016 ‘at the request of Israel, Russia tore up a contract for S-300’ anti-aircraft missile systems which ‘could have shot down Israeli warplanes within seconds of take-off’ and prevented any more Israeli strikes on Syria. Russia returned the $400 million that it had already received for the missiles from the Syrian government.

Russia also exhumed and repatriated two long-dead Israeli soldiers’ bodies from Syria and returned a captured Israeli tank from Lebanon. Russia also prevented Obama’s ‘parting shot’ resolutions against Israel from being debated at the UN.