First Published: 2017-06-19

Russia freezes US military hotline after downing of Syrian plane
Moscow accuses Washington of failing to warn Russia before downing Syrian plane, ends cooperation with US-led coalition.
Middle East Online

An American fighter jet shot down the Syrian warplane

MOSCOW - Russia's defence ministry on Monday condemned the US downing of a Syrian plane and said it would now track all coalition flights west of the Euphrates river, while suspending its use of a military hotline for avoiding incidents in Syrian airspace.

Moscow accused the US of failing to use the established communication hotline to warn Russia about the downing of the plane on Sunday.

"The command of the coalition forces did not use the established communication channel for preventing incidents in Syrian airspace," the defence ministry said.

As a result, it now "ends cooperation with the American side from June 19 based on a memorandum for prevention of incidents and ensuring safety of air flights during operations in Syria, and demands a careful investigation by the US command" of the downing.

"Any flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, discovered west of the Euphrates river will be tracked as aerial targets by Russia's air defences on and above ground," it said.

An American fighter jet shot down the Syrian warplane which the US-led coalition said had attacked its allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces, fighting against the Islamic State group.

In April, Russia had also said it was suspending its use of the Syria hotline after US forces struck a Syrian airbase, but the communications had continued.


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