MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted Israel's offer to share detailed information about its air raid which triggered fire by Syrian forces that downed a Russian reconnaissance plane, the Kremlin said Wednesday.
Syrian forces mistook the Russian Il-20 for Israeli aircraft, killing all 15 people aboard on Monday. Russia's Defense Ministry blamed the plane's loss on Israel, but Putin sough to defuse tensions, pointing at "a chain of tragic accidental circumstances."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Putin on Tuesday to express sorrow over the death of the plane's crew, blamed Syria and offered to dispatch Israel's air force chief to Moscow to provide details.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that Russian experts will study the data to be provided by the Israeli air force chief.
While the Russian leader took a cautious stance on the incident, he warned that Russia will respond by "taking additional steps to protect our servicemen and assets in Syria."
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said Wednesday that those will include deploying automated protection systems at Russia's air and naval bases in Syria.
Business daily Kommersant reported that Russia also may respond to the downing of its plane by becoming more reluctant to engage Iran and its proxy Hezbollah militia, to help assuage Israeli worries.
Moscow has played a delicate diplomatic game of maintaining friendly ties with both Israel and Iran. In July, Moscow struck a deal with Tehran to keep its fighters 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the Golan Heights to accommodate Israeli security concerns.