nytimes.com - 65 days ago
Russia Will Suspend Cooperation With U.S. on Syrian Airspace
MOSCOW — Russia on Monday condemned the American military’s downing of a Syrian warplane and suspended the use of a military hotline that the United States and Russia have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace.
The Russian military has halted such cooperation in the past — notably after President Trump ordered the launch of missiles against a Syrian air base in April — and it was not clear whether the latest action would be lasting. Nonetheless it was the latest example of the intensifying clash of words and interests between the two powers, which back different sides in Syria’s grueling civil war. An American F/A-18 shot down the Syrian government warplane south of the town of Tabhah on Sunday, after it dropped bombs near local ground forces supported by the United States. It was the first time the American military has downed a Syrian aircraft since the civil war plunged Syria into chaos in 2011. In response, Russia’s Defense Ministry called American attacks against the Syrian forces “military aggression” and announced that it will suspend its cooperation with the United States on preventing air incidents over Syria. “All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. Weeks after President Vladimir V. Putin ordered to send Russian military forces to Syria in September 2015, to prop up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia and the United States signed a memorandum on preventing air incidents between the two countries.
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