Moscow: The downing of a Syrian government warplane by the United States is a step toward a dangerous escalation, and Moscow is warning Washington not to use force against Syrian government troops, a senior Russian diplomat told Interfax news agency on Monday.
Russia’s defence ministry on Monday also said it would view as targets any flying objects over Syria in the areas of the country where its air forces operate, Russian news agencies reported.
The ministry said it was suspending its interaction with the United States on preventing air incidents over Syria from June 19, the agencies reported.
The US did not use its communication channel with Russia ahead of the downing of the Syrian government warplane, the ministry was quoted as saying.
The US-led coalition said the Syrian plane had dropped bombs on its allies fighting against the Islamic State group in the war-torn country.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov also told the agency that a set of new US sanctions that can be imposed on Russia will lead Moscow to retaliate.
Ryabkov said he and US undersecretary of state Thomas Shannon will meet in St Petersburg on June 23 to discuss problems in bilateral ties, Interfax reported.
He described the incident as an act of aggression.
“This strike has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law,” Ryabkov told journalists in Moscow, according to the TASS state news agency.
“What is this if not an act of aggression?” he said in Russia’s first official reaction to the downing of the plane on Sunday.
“It is, if you like, help to those terrorists that the US is fighting against, declaring they are carrying out an anti-terrorism policy,” Ryabkov said.