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Russia vows to shoot down all 'flying objects' in Syria after US guns down first regime warplane

The Independent logo The Independent 19/06/2017

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Russia has threatened to shoot down US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces operate amid a diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet.

The country's defence ministry said it had suspended a hotline between Russia and the US aimed at avoiding mid-air collisions.

The statement followed after a US warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the countryside near Raqqa.

Washington said the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed forces but Damascus said the plane was downed while flying a mission against Isis militants.

Russia's Defence Ministry said the suspension of its communication channel with the Americans would begin immediately.

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, accusing the US of a "deliberate failure to make good on its commitments" under the de-confliction deal.

Russia, which has been providing air cover for Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad, has an agreement with the US aimed at preventing incidents involving either country's jets engaged in operations in Syria.

America’s action on Monday was akin to "helping the terrorists that the US is fighting against”, Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, said.

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