An Israeli minister said Monday that Russia’s shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft systems were “a big mistake” and said israel would target them if Israeli planes are hit in Israeli airspace.
Ze’ev Elkin, Israel’s minister of Jerusalem affairs and minister of environmental protection, who is also the co-chair of the Russia-israel Intergovernmental Commission, said that Israel is ready to attack Syria’s new S-300 air defense systems in the event that they are used to fire on Israeli jets.
“We consider the very fact of shipping S-300 to Syria a big mistake,” Elkin said during a press conference for Russian media Monday. “The Syrian military are not always capable of correctly using the hardware transferred to them. In case of improper operation, civilian aircrafts may be harmed,” he said.
“The Syrians, if they ever want to, might use [these systems] to down an Israeli military or commercial plane over Israeli territory,” he said, “considering the mess that is going on in the Syrian Army. Shipping S-300s might lead to destabilization of the situation.”
He said that Israel will retaliate in the event of an air defense attack, and he partially put the responsibility for any such incident on Russia.
“By shipping these kinds of weapons to Syrians, Russia bears partial responsibility for their use,” Elkin said. “Usually, Israel reacts to attacks on its territory and its aircrafts not through international demarches, but with practical actions….