Russian defense ministry said IL-20 plane was mistakenly downed over Mediterranean by the Syrian air defense as the plane was used by Israeli fighters as a cover.

Israeli fighters were attacking Latakia province and deliberately created a dangerous situation for the vessels and planes that were located in the region, Russian Defense Ministry representative  Igor Konashenkov said.

“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile,” the statement said.

Russia described Israel’s actions as hostile and said they reserve the right to adequate response. Russian defense ministry said 15 servicemen were killed because of “irresponsible actions of the Israeli military”.