Russia announced Monday that the Syrian government will be supplied with S-300 missile defense systems amid the downing of a Russian plane by Syria last week, a move the Trump administration calls a “major mistake,” Fox News reports.
The transfer of advance missile systems comes after a friendly fire incident between Syrian and Russian forces that led to the deaths of 15 Russians on board on a Russian military aircraft. The Kremlin initially blamed Israel, which reportedly carried out over 200 strikes on Iranian-linked targets in Syria.
National security adviser John Bolton said Monday that delivery of the Russian S-300 would be a “significant escalation” in already high tensions in the region and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would raise the matter this week with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at the U.N. General Assembly.
“We think introducing the S-300s to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider. “We have American forces in the area we’re concerned about, The Israelis have a legitimate right to self-defense against this Iranian aggressive behavior, and what we’re all trying to do is reduce tensions, reduce the possibility of major new hostilities. That’s why the president has spoken to this issue and why we would regard introducing the S300 as a major mistake.” ~ Bolton
Russia will go ahead with the shipment of the advanced missile systems because “the situation has changed, and it’s not our fault,” noting the supply of S-300 will “calm down some hotheads” who threaten Russian military in the Middle East.
Moscow accused Tel Aviv of failing to inform Russia about its impending attack on targets in Syria, which resulted in a downing of the Russian electronic warfare aircraft by Syrian return fire. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the defense ministry to take several measures in response to the incident, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The Trump administration is warning Russia that supplying Syria with an advanced missile defense system would be a “major mistake” and should be reconsidered. It also says U.S. forces will not leave Syria until Iran leaves.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.