The Russian military said Tuesday that while Syrian air defences shot down the aircraft, Israel was to blame for putting it in the line of fire, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.
The Il-20 electronic reconnaissance aircraft was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by the Syrian Government.
“As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian servicemen were killed, which is absolutely not in keeping with the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership,” said Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Defence, according to RIA-Novosti.
“The trace of the Il-20 on flight control radars disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province,” the statement was quoted as saying.
“At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region.”
The fate of the 14 people on board the missing plane is unknown, and a rescue operation has been organised out of the Hmeymim base, the ministry said.