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29 Sep 18. China seeks global role for elite counter-terrorism forces. Beijing believes its growing international interests must be protected from terrorism. China wants its elite counter-terrorism forces to play a bigger role overseas, protecting its growing international interests as President Xi Jinping pursues a more muscular foreign policy. “Counter-terrorism preparations must follow the expansion of the country’s strategic interests,” Zhang Xiaoqi, the head of intelligence for China’s People’s Armed Police, which runs the country’s counter-terrorism forces, told Xinhua, the national news agency, at the weekend. “We must strive to become a deterrent force to safeguard national security, a pioneering force to protect overseas interests and an elite force for universal fighting.” China passed a wide-ranging new counter-terrorism law in 2015 that allows the army and police to conduct or join counter-terrorism missions overseas. While the law does not clearly define the international role for China’s counter-terrorism forces, a report by the European Council for Foreign Relations, a think-tank, argued that that it “has the potential to lead to a dramatic change in the use of Chinese military power overseas”. Li Wei, who heads counter-terrorism research at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a state-run think-tank, said that any overseas operations would be conducted alongside local governments. “It wouldn’t be unilateral but must be in collaboration with the local government, unlike the US military’s counter-terrorist activities,” he said. Mr Li added that China’s external counter-terrorism focus was not only on military operations but also intelligence sharing and judicial cooperation, especially in countries that are part of Mr Xi’s Belt and Road infrastructure investment initiative. Zhang Baohui, a professor of political science at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, said China is entering the final phases of its “going global” strategy and that it will get drawn into defending its interests, particularly in restive parts of Central Asia and Africa. “It is merely a matter of time before China starts to conduct overseas military operations to protect its national interests,” he said. Prof Zhang said that Western governments should not be “overly wary” of this development. “If the world expects China to shoulder greater burdens for global governance, anti-terrorism is one area where China may play more prominent roles in the coming years,” he said. Chinese units, including the elite Snow Leopard Commandos, which are part of the People’s Armed Police, have been posted overseas previously to guard Chinese diplomatic missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Beijing has also joined a growing number of counter-terrorism exercises around the world, as its citizens have been killed in recent terrorist attacks at home and abroad, from Thailand to Mali. Mr Xi is pushing China to match its increasing economic might with a more robust foreign policy — and sees the armed forces as an important tool of diplomacy. Recommended Analysis Chinese politics & policy China extends Uighur crackdown beyond its borders Under Mr Xi’s watch, the PLA has intensified a modernisation programme and expanded its global reach, opening a naval base in Djibouti last year, its first foreign base since its troops pulled out of North Korea in the 1950s. Mr Zhang of the People’s Armed Police said that China’s counter-terrorism forces were also upgrading, to ensure they can handle the increased complexities of operating overseas. He said the special forces had been trained to “not fear suffering and not fear death” as they take on their expanded responsibilities. (Source: FT.com)
28 Sep 18. India approves S-400 buy from Russia, amid expectations for more bilateral deals. India has quietly approved a $5.43bn program to buy five S-400 Triumf air defense systems from Russia, just a week before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Oct. 5 visit to the country. The program was approved earlier this week by the Indian government’s highest defense approval body, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When asked about India’s decision in relation to U.S. objections over the purchase, a top Ministry of Defence official said: “We already have communicated our stand on the subject to Washington.” A formal government-to-government contract is expected to be announced during the 19th India-Russia summit on Oct. 5.
“Apparently, the Indian defense establishment is convinced that S-400 Triumf system is ideally suited to fill a critical gap in our existing capabilities. That being the case, there is no reason for India to buckle under the U.S. pressure to roll back procurement of hardware from Russia,” said Amit Cowshish, a former former financial adviser on defense acquisition for the MoD.
U.S. embassy diplomats were unavailable for comment.
Indian defense forces have been apprehensive about the fate of armament supplies from Russia following U.S. sanctions on Russian entities under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA. India and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement on the sale of five S-400 units during 17th India-Russia summit in October 2016 in Goa in the presence of Putin and Modi. The Russian-built S-400 is capable of intercepting and destroying airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) and can simultaneously engage up to six targets. Each S-400 unit comprises tracking and search radar systems, eight launchers, 112 guided missiles, and command and support vehicles. The first missile system will be delivered by the end of 2020.
India is also expected to announce a $2.2bn government-to-government contract with United Shipbuilding Corporation of Russia for two Krivak-class stealth frigates. In addition, an intergovernmental agreement will be inked for the joint production of AK-103 assault rifles in India.
U.S. sanctions against Russia compelled India early this year to freeze payments of more than $2bn, temporarily halting several ongoing defense programs receiving assistance from several Russian defense original equipment manufacturers.
Until last month, CAATSA also affected India’s purchase of spare parts, components, raw materials and other assistance for which Indian entities are dependent on Russia for domestic licence manufacturing and maintenance of existing equipment, according to another MoD official.
Following an April 7 verdict by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, India’s national bank, the State Bank of India, stopped all payments to Russian arms trading company Rosoboronexport. “This [problem] is more or less rectified now,” the official added.
India now wants a new 10-year framework agreement with Russia to manufacture and upgrade at least a dozen types of Russian armament systems in India, including for Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters, Mi-series helicopters, Kamov helicopters, T-90 tanks, artillery guns and Smerch multi-barrel rocket launcher systems. Cowshish noted that India cannot afford to distance itself from Russia, if for no other reason than the fact that it requires Russia’s continued support to maintain and operate in-service equipment, a large proportion of which is of Russian-origin. Russia remains the largest defense supplier to India, but its share of the Indian market has fallen sharply. (Source: Defense News)
27 Sep 18. Russia plans to arm its most advanced fighter with new hypersonic air-to-air missiles meant to cripple the F-35 stealth fighter. Russia’s most advanced fighter jet, the Sukhoi Su-57, will reportedly carry the hypersonic R-37M long-range air-to-air missile, a new weapon with the ability to strike targets hundreds of miles away.
- The Chinese are developing similar systems for their fighter jets.
- These weapons, assuming US rivals can take them from testing to deployment, could pose a threat to rear support aircraft such as early warning and aerial refueling aircraft, key force multipliers for American jets like the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
Russia reportedly plans to arm its most advanced fighter jet with a powerful hypersonic air-to-air missile that can take aim at aircraft nearly two hundred miles away, making them a potential threat to critical US air assets.
The Su-57 multipurpose fighter jet, a fifth-generation stealth fighter built for air superiority and complex attack operations that is still in development, will be armed with the new R-37M, an upgraded version of an older long-range air-to-air missile, Russia Today reported Thursday, citing defense officials.
The Russian Ministry of Defense is reportedly close to completing testing for this weapon, the development of which began after the turn of the century.
With a reported operational range of 186 to 248 miles and a top speed of Mach 6 (4,500 mph), the R-37M is designed to eliminate rear support aircraft, critical force multipliers such as early warning and aerial refueling aircraft. Russia asserts that the missile possesses an active-seeker homing system that allows it to target fighter jets during the terminal phase of flight.
While Russia initially intended to see the weapon carried by the MiG-31 interceptors, these missiles are now expected to become the primary weapons of the fourth-generation Su-30s and Su-35s, as well as the next-generation Su-57s. The weapon’s specifications were modified to meet these demands.
The Russians are also apparently developing another very long-range air-to-air missile — the KS-172, a two-stage missile with a range said to be in excess of the R-37M’s capabilities, although the latter is reportedly much closer to deployment.
China, another US competitor, is also reportedly developing advanced long-range air-to-air missiles that could be carried by the reportedly fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter. The China Daily reported in January 2017 that photos of a J-11B from the Red Sword 2016 combat drills appeared to show a new beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
“China has developed a new missile that can hit high-value targets such as early-warning planes and aerial refueling aircraft, which stay far from conflict zones,” the state-run media outlet reported, citing Fu Qianshao, an equipment researcher with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
Slow, vulnerable rear-support aircraft improve the overall effectiveness of key front-line fighter units, such as America’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, which just conducted its first combat mission. The best strategy to deal with this kind of advanced system is to “send a super-maneuverable fighter jet with very-long-range missiles to destroy those high-value targets, which are ‘eyes’ of enemy jets,” Fu told the China Daily, calling the suspected development of this type of weapon a “major breakthrough.”
The missiles being developed by US rivals reportedly have a greater range than the American AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), giving them a potential edge over US military aircraft.
The Russian Su-57 is expected to enter service in 2019, although the Russian military is currently investing more heavily in fourth-generation fighters like the MiG-29SMT Fulcrum and Su-35S Flanker E, which meet the country’s air combat needs for the time being. Russia canceled plans for the mass production of the Su-57 in July after a string of development problems.
There is some evidence the aircraft may have been active in Syria earlier this year, but the plane remains unready for combat at this time. Military analyst Michael Kofman previously told Business Insider that the Su-57 is “a poor man’s stealth aircraft,” adding that it doesn’t quite stack up to the F-35 or F-22. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/http://uk.businessinsider.com)
24 Sep 18. U.S. approval of $330m military sale to Taiwan draws China’s ire. The U.S. State Department has approved the sale to Taiwan of spare parts for F-16 fighter planes and other military aircraft worth up to $330m (251m pounds), prompting China to warn on Tuesday that the move jeopardized Sino-U.S. cooperation. U.S. military sales to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, is an irritant in the relations between the world’s two largest economies. Taiwan would still need to finalise details of the sale with U.S. companies.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement issued on Monday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan were a serious breech of international law and harmed Chinese sovereignty and security interests. China strongly opposes the planned arms sales and has already lodged “stern representations” with the United States, he told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
China urges the United States to withdraw the planned sale and stop military contacts with Taiwan, to avoid serious harm to both Sino-U.S. cooperation in major areas, and peace and stability in the Taiwan strait, Geng added.
China’s Defense Ministry, in a separate statement, also condemned the planned sale, adding that the Chinese military had a “firm and unshakable” resolve to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China is deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward Taiwan, which is equipped with mostly U.S.-made weaponry and wants Washington to sell it more advanced equipment, including new fighter jets. In a statement on Tuesday, Taiwan’s Presidential Office thanked the United States for its support and said the island would continue to “stay in close communication and cooperation” with Washington for issues including security. Military experts said the balance of power between Taiwan and China has shifted in favour of China, which could probably overwhelm the island unless U.S. forces came quickly to its aid. The $330m request covers spare parts for “F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), all other aircraft systems and subsystems, and other related elements of logistics and program support,” the Pentagon said, adding that it notified Congress of the possible sale. Lockheed Martin Corp makes the F-16.
The Pentagon said the proposed sale is required to maintain Taiwan’s “defensive and aerial fleet,” and would not alter the military balance in the region.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring what it sees as a wayward province under its control. Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during a visit to Beijing in June that Beijing was committed to peace, but could not give up “even one inch” of territory that the country’s ancestors had left behind. (Source: Reuters)
24 Sep 18. Netanyahu tells Putin delivery of S-300 to Syria will increase regional danger. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday that supplying advanced weapon systems to “irresponsible players” would increase dangers in the region, Netanyahu’s office said. In a telephone call held shortly after Russia announced it would supply an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria within two weeks, Netanyahu also said he told Putin that Israel would continue to protect its security and interests. The Israeli leader also agreed with Putin on continued coordination between the two countries’ armed forces. Russia’s announcement on the missile system came a week after Moscow blamed Israel for indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military plane in Syria. Israel said Syria was responsible.
Israel has long lobbied Moscow not to provide the S-300 to Syria, fearing this would hinder its aerial capability to strike buildups of Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had in the past obliged Israel by refraining from supplying Syria with the system. But last week’s crash, which killed 15 Russian service members, had forced Moscow to take “adequate retaliatory measures” to keep its troops safe.
Russia, which fights in Syria to support the government, has said Syria shot the Il-20 surveillance plane down by mistake shortly after Israeli jets hit a nearby target. But it blamed Israel for creating dangerous conditions that caused the crash. Israel, which has struck Syria scores of times during the war, said after the incident that it would work to improve “deconfliction” of its missions with Russian forces, but would not halt them. (Source: Reuters)
25 Sep 18. U.S. Readiness in Korea Important to Diplomacy, Nominee Tells Senate Panel. The North Korean military remains dangerous, and U.S., South Korean and allied forces on the Korean Peninsula “should remain clear-eyed about the situation on the ground and allow diplomacy to continue to work,” President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to be the next commander of U.S. forces in Korea told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing today.
Army Gen. Robert B. Abrams, now the commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, is the president’s nominee to replace Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks as the commander of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
If confirmed, Abrams would go to a peninsula in a state of flux. The historic meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un changed the calculus, and this is a critical time. What happens in North Korea – will they indeed denuclearize – affects South Korea, Japan, China and all of Northeast Asia.
“The strategic importance of the Pacific region has grown over the past decade,” Abrams said. “The foundation for success in Northeast Asia is largely due to the extraordinary relationships we have built over time with United Nations sending states and our Indo-Pacific neighbors, particularly Japan and the Republic of Korea.”
Working with allies is key to what happens on the peninsula, and Abrams said he would continue that process. “Our strong combined military power with the Republic of Korea has sustained armistice conditions for 65 years and supported our diplomatic and economic efforts today,” he said.
Since the armistice of 1953, alliance forces have been ready “to fight tonight,” the general said, and the allies must maintain that credible deterrent “to preserve options for our elected leaders.”
Abrams endorsed the four long-standing command priorities: sustaining and strengthening the alliance, maintaining the armistice, transforming the alliance, and sustaining the force. “I believe these priorities remain relevant, but if confirmed, I will … make my own assessment on the way forward, and I will keep this committee informed of my conclusions,” he said.
The general said he would describe the situation today as “a temporary pause and a general feeling of detente, if you will, on the peninsula.”
North Korea has not made a major provocation for more than 300 days, and dialogue has taken place on many levels among the United States, South Korea and North Korea. This includes military-to-military talks between the United Nations Command and the North Korean army at the senior officer level – the first in 11 years.
Given this encouraging news, the allies still need to maintain readiness, Abrams said. North Korea is a significant asymmetric and intercontinental threat, he told the Senate panel, noting that it still has the fourth-largest conventional army in the world. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
25 Sep 18. UK to extend military training operation in Ukraine until 2020. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed the country’s commitment to extend its military training operation in Ukraine for an additional two years. Delivered through Operation Orbital, the military training operation in Ukraine will continue until 2020 and would include anti-armour, counter-sniping and mortar planning. The current training expansion is in addition to the defensive skills programmes, such as the identification of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), infantry skills, medical care and logistics, which the UK military personnel have been providing to Ukraine since early 2015.
Williamson said: “I witnessed first-hand the suffering caused by the brutal conflict in eastern Ukraine – a conflict that is being prolonged by the Russian-backed separatists.
“By extending and expanding our training programmes, we are sending a clear message – we support the people of Ukraine and are firmly committed to its sovereignty as it faces down blatant Russian aggression.”
Furthermore, Williamson reaffirmed the expansion of the UK Defence Section in Kyiv and the introduction of a new and permanent Naval Attaché that would help develop and advance the naval capability in Ukraine.
Since the beginning of Operation Orbital in 2015, UK personnel have trained more than 9,500 soldiers deployed with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Over the coming year, the UK intends to expand its growth in joint training activity with the Canadian allies. In addition, the country will support the various initiatives between UK personnel and other countries, which are also committed to support Ukraine. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 Sep 18. Tokyo to delay deployment of Osprey tiltrotors amid local opposition. Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has decided to delay the deployment of the first five of 17 Bell-Boeing MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft it has ordered from the United States amid fierce local opposition.
“The date of the shipment has yet to be decided as we are negotiating with Saga Prefecture the deployment of the [first five] aircraft,” Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Nemuro City, Hokkaido, on 23 September during an inspection of Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) units.
Tokyo ordered the first five MV-22Bs for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) in July 2015 for USD332.5m, with deliveries initially expected to take place during the autumn of 2018. The plan was to temporarily deploy the tiltrotors to the JGSDF’s Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo while the MoD discussed with the local community where the aircraft would ultimately be based in Saga Prefecture.
In August Yoshinori Yamaguchi, the governor of Saga Prefecture, had announced that the prefectural government would accept the deployment of the aircraft to Saga Airport on Kyushu Island. However, local fishery co-operatives remain strongly opposed to the move. Japanese media has reported that negotiations between the prefectural government and the local co-operatives will only begin in the spring of 2019 (or perhaps even later) as the parties involved seek to review the pollution prevention agreement on the dual use of Saga Airport by commercial airlines and the JSDF. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Sep 18. SAMI looks to investment in South Africa. Saudi Arabia is considering investing in the defence industries of South Africa, the chief executive of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) confirmed during the African Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition. Dr Andreas Schwer’s comments were made following an earlier vist by SAMI representatives to South Africa to discuss investment in national defence organisation Denel. SAMI’s interest has centred on munitions, guided weapons, artillery systems, and optronics and the state-owned organisation has indicated that it would consider establishing a research and development centre in South Africa. SAMI’s expression of interest coincided with comments from Denel acting chief executive Mike Kgobe who indicated that his company is actively seeking equity partners.(Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
23 Sep 18. Israeli Air Force Solely to Blame for Il-20 Crash – Russian Defense Ministry. The Israeli Air Force and those making decisions are solely to blame for the crash of Russia’s Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft in Syria on September 17, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing on Sunday. According to him, ‘objective data says that the actions of Israeli pilots, which led to the death of 15 Russian military personnel, point to either lack of professionalism or criminal negligence.’ ‘This is why we believe that the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy is solely the fault of the Israeli Air Force and those who made decisions concerning such actions,’ Konashenkov said. He stressed that on the night of September 17, the Israeli fighter jets ‘were active in an area that both military and civilian aircraft fly through when landing at the Hmeimim air base.’
According to Konashenkov, it is hard to understand the reasons behind these actions, taking into account constructing cooperation between Russia and Israel in Syria. ‘This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that Russia has done for Israel and the Israeli people recently,’ he said.
‘The Israeli military command either does not value the current level of relations with Russia or does not control certain military units,’ Konashenkov noted, adding that the Israeli Air Force’s actions towards the Russian aircraft went beyond civilized relations.
Konashenkov pointed that the Israeli F-16 fighter jet’s pilot knew that Russia’s Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft would be a preferred target for Syrian air defenses.
‘After the first attack, the Israeli jets pulled back, moving to an area 70 kilometers west of the Syrian coast, turning their radar jamming devices on and apparently making preparations for another attack,’ he added.
According to the Russian defense ministry spokesman, at 21:59, one of the Israeli F-16 fighters headed to the coast, approaching the Il-20 aircraft, which was preparing to land. ‘The Syrian air defenses must have taken that maneuver for a new attack by the Israeli Air force,’ Konashenkov noted. The Israel Defense Forces claimed earlier in a statement that ‘when the Syrian Army launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane, IAF [Israeli Air Force] jets were already within Israeli airspace.’
‘The Israeli pilot could not but understand that since the Il-20 aircraft has a far larger radar cross-section compared to an F-16 jet, it would be a preferred target for air defenses,’ Konashenkov said. He also noted that Israel was aware ‘Russian and Syrian militaries use different friend or foe identification systems so Syrian radars could have identified the Il-20 as a group of Israeli fighter jets.’
The Russian defense ministry spokesman pointed out that ‘the Israeli fighter jets used the Russian Il-20 aircraft as cover against missiles and continued their maneuvers in the area.’
A missile launched from a Syrian S-200 missile complex hit the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft at 22:03 on September 17, the aircraft commander had the time to report about the fire on board and the start of an emergency landing, Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing. According to him, Israeli fighter plans in fact used the Russian aircraft as cover, knowing that air defense missiles would hit a larger target.
‘At 22:03, a Syrian missile hit the closest and biggest target, which was the Il-20 aircraft. The captain reported about a fire on board and the start of an emergency landing,’ he said, adding that the aircraft had disappeared from radar at 22:07.
The Russian general added that at 22:29, a Russian duty officer in command in Syria informed the Israeli Air Force that a Russian Il-20 aircraft was in distress and demanded that Israeli fighter jets leave the area as a rescue operation was about to begin. An Israeli lieutenant confirmed the receipt of information but the Israeli F-16 jets left the area only at 22:40.
Israel’s actions in Syria
The Russian defense ministry spokesmen noted that the mode conduct of Israeli pilots in Syria was totally different from that of US pilots, as Russia and the US used communication channels to notify each other of plans to carry out air operations in the region in order to prevent incidents.
Konashenkov went on to say that Russia had not once violated its agreements with Israel ‘and never used the Russian air defenses deployed to Syria though Israeli air raids sometimes posed a potential threat to Russian military personnel.’
‘Since the [deconflition] agreement was made, Russia has sent 310 notifications about activities in areas along the Israeli border to the Israel Defense Forces Command. At the same time, Israel sent only 25 such notifications, shortly before airstrikes,’ he said.
He added that Israel’s F-16 fighter jets turned their radar jamming devices on and pulled back after carrying out an attack in Syria’s Latakia province on September 17.
‘Syrian air defenses began launching missiles to counter Israeli airstrikes at 21:51,’ Konashenkov said. ‘After the first attack, the Israeli jets pulled back, moving to an area 70 kilometers west of the Syrian coast, turning their radar jamming devices on and apparently making preparations for another attack,’ he added.
According to the Russian defense ministry spokesman, at 21:59, one of the Israeli F-16 fighters headed to the coast, approaching the Il-20 aircraft, which was preparing to land. ‘The Syrian air defenses must have taken that maneuver for a new attack by the Israeli Air force,’ Konashenkov noted.
Downing of Il-20 aircraft
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on September 17, contact was lost with a Russian Il-20 aircraft flying over the Mediterranean Sea back to Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Syria. The ministry said the aircraft had disappeared from radar during an airstrike four Israeli F-16 fighter jets carried out on targets in the Syrian province of Latakia.
On September 18, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the Il-20 aircraft had been accidently downed by Syrian air defenses as the Israeli F-16 jets had been using it as cover. According to Konashenkov, Israeli pilots ‘could not but see the Russian plane, which was approaching the runway from an altitude of five kilometers.’ The Defense Ministry added that it considered such actions by Israel to be hostile. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
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