The Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental and Cultural Heritage Protection Ze’ev Elkin’s stated that if the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems deployed in Syria open fire on the Israeli Air Force, Israel might strike at them, reports TASS. “By supplying such weapons to the Syrians, Russia bears partial responsibility for its use,” he stressed.
According to Elkin, Israel “has been doing everything in its power throughout all these years” so that the Russian soldiers in Syria would not suffer. He also recalled that the Iranians "more than once or twice" used Russian soldiers as a "human shield" for the weapons transfer to Syria.
Russia delivered the S-300 missiles systems to Syria after the Russian military aircraft IL-20 was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea, which led to the loss of fifteen Russian military men. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Israeli Air Force used the IL-20 as a cover against Syrian air defenses, which eventually hit the Russian plane.
The Russian Defense Ministry accused Israel of downing the IL-20l. On November 5, the director of the First Eurasian Department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Yakov Livne, said that Tel Aviv would do everything in its power to avoid incidents similar to the Il-20 tragedy.