Russia has admitted that one of its military planes was accidentally shot down by Syrian government missiles.
Earlier, the Russian defence ministry had said the aircraft had vanished from radar over Syria.
It said one of its aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens at the same time that Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks in Syria.
But Russia later admitted the plane had been shot down by Syrian forces by accident.
However, it blamed Israel for “irresponsible actions”, claiming it had launched air strikes by F-16 jets with only one minute’s warning, which led the Syrian troops to fire and hit the Russian plane.
Earlier, an unnamed US official told Reuters that Washington believed the aircraft, an Il-20 turbo-prop plane used for electronic reconnaissance, was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow’s ally, the Syrian government.
Around the time the plane disappeared, the Syrian coastal city of Latakia – near a Russian airbase to which the Il-20 was returning – came under attack from “enemy missiles”, and missile defence batteries responded, Syrian state media reported.
The defence ministry in Moscow said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when, at about 11pm Moscow time on Monday, it disappeared from radar screens.
The plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35km (20 miles) from the Syrian coastline, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
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“The trace of the Il-20 on flight control radars disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province,” the statement was quoted as saying.
“At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region.”
A French military spokesman told AFP: “The French army denies any involvement in this attack.”
The Israeli military said: “We don’t comment on foreign reports.”
The fate of the 14 people on board the missing plane is unknown, and a rescue operation has been organised out of the Hmeymim base, the ministry said.
Russia’s military operation in Syria, which began in late 2015, has turned the tide of the conflict in favour of Moscow’s ally, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, in his fight against rebels.
However, in December 2016, a Russian plane carrying dozens of Red Army choir singers, dancers and musicians crashed into the Black Sea on the way to Syria, killing all 92 people on board.
In March this year, a Russian military transport plane crashed when coming in to land at the Hmeymim base, killing all 39 people on board.
Multiple countries have military operations underway around Syria, with forces on the ground or launching strikes from the air or from ships in the Mediterranean.