Russian Federation threatens after USA downs Syrian warplane
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 21, 2017,
Jun 21, 2017, 0:34
Australian air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria have been halted as a precautionary measure after a USA fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane.
The downing of the jet and Russia's response came as the US-led coalition and allied fighters battle to oust the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group from its Syrian bastion Raqa.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that it "terminates cooperation with the USA side within the framework of the Memorandum on Incident Prevention and Aviation Safety in operations in Syria from June 19, and demands a thorough investigation by the US command (into the downing)".
RAAF operations over Syria have been halted amid fears planes could be fired upon in retaliation for the U.S. downing an Assad-backed fighter jet.
And that disagreement has constrained American leaders, who've made clear that any US military activity in Syria avoid provoking an open confrontation between the USA and Russian Federation, the world's two greatest nuclear powers.
An American F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down the SyrianSU-22 as it "dropped bombs near SDF fighters" south of the town of Tabqa, the coalition said in a statement.Russia's defence minister said the pilot ejected "above IS-controlled territories" and that his fate is unknown.
At the White House, spokesman Sean Spicer said: "It's important and crucial that we keep lines of communication open to deconflict potential issues".
Russia's foreign ministry accused Washington of failing to use the hotline before downing the plane near Raqa, and called for a "careful investigation by the United States command" into the incident.
The Russian defense ministry said in a statement on Monday that it was suspending the deal after the USA military confirmed that it downed a Syrian Air Force fighter jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near US partner forces.
Earlier Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov compared the downing to "helping the terrorists that the United States is fighting against".
Now there's a topic the Russians know something about - whether it's the illegal annexation of Crimea, the incursions into eastern Ukraine or the targeting of elections in the US and France, Russian acts of aggression are very real and ongoing.
Ryabkov asks: "What is this, if not an act of aggression?"