Russian Military Blames Israel When Syrians Shoot Down Plane

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Nikita Shchyukin/AFP/Getty Images, File

A Russian military aircraft was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea by Syrian anti-aircraft batteries on Monday night, but Russia accused Israel of "hostile behavior" in the incident and threatened retaliation, NBC News reported.

While a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin stopped short of blaming Israel, Russia's Defense Ministry said Israeli F-16 jets used the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft as a shield and 15 servicemen died when that aircraft was shot down, Russian news agency TASS reported.

Israel's military offered condolences over the Russians who died but said Syria should be held responsible.

Russia is allies with both countries and has been working to improve ties with Israel as Israel seeks Russia's help pushing back on Iran in Syria.

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