Russia suspends cooperation with US in Syrian airspace (Lead)
Moscow June 19 (IANS) Russia suspended cooperation with the US in Syrian airspace on Monday a day after the US-led coalition shot down a Syrian jet.
The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement that it terminates cooperation with the US side within the framework of the Memorandum on Incident Prevention and Aviation Safety in operations in Syria from June 19 and demands a thorough investigation by the US command (into the downing) Xinhua reported.
According to the statement a US F/A-18 fighter jet on Sunday shot down a Syrian Su-22 bomber which was carrying out a combat mission in support of government troops conducting an offensive against the Islamic State in the vicinity of Raqqa the group s stronghold.
The US Central Command said however that the Syrian plane bombed US-backed forces and the action against it was in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces.
In Monday s statement the Russian Defence Ministry said it considered the downing of the Syrian warplane a cynical violation of the sovereignty of Syria and a gross violation of international law and in fact a military aggression against Syria.
It added that Russian warplanes were also operating in Syria s airspace at the moment of the attack but the US-led coalition didn t use the existing communication channels to warn the Russian military.
From now on all aircraft and drones of the coalition detected west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by Russian air- and ground-based air defence systems as targets the ministry warned.