18 Sep 2018 14:55

Gen. Ivashov suggests ending intelligence data exchange with Israel, delivering weapons to Hezbollah after Il-20's downing

MOSCOW. Sept 18 (Interfax) - Russia may take tough retaliatory measures following the Russian Ilyushin Il-20's reconnaissance aircraft's crash, after it has been hit by a missile, while Moscow accused Israel of provoking the incident, the former chief of the Russian Defense Ministry's main international military cooperation department, Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, said.

"To end any military and military-technical relations with Israel, specifically, as far as I remember, the intelligence data exchange agreement," Ivashov told Interfax on Tuesday.

In addition, Russia may take a number of diplomatic measures, in particular, the country may recall its ambassador from Israel, and "may reduce or suspend the effect of the visa-free travel agreement," the expert said.

Russia may begin "downing any Israeli aircraft, which illegally intrudes in Syrian airspace," as one of its tit-for-tat steps, Ivashov added.

Deliveries of defensive weapons to the Hezbollah movement, which Israel believes to be a terrorist one, could be another measure, the general said.

"We can deliver weapons for purely for defensive purposes, including air defense systems, at least man-portable air defense missile systems, for the self-defense of the state of Lebanon, and probably to Hezbollah official bodies," he said.

Russia also could help increase Syrian air defense system firing crews' qualification and could supply the Syrian army with more advanced means of air defense, he said.

"Of course, it is necessary to train the Syrians. S-200, these systems will be already 200 years old soon, it is necessary to deliver modern systems, including advanced friend-foe identification systems," the expert said.