Russian officials threatened to shoot down U.S.-led coalition planes flying over Syria, west of the Euphrates River, if they targeted the Syrian Military or their Air Force again.
The confrontational remarks began after the United States shot down a Syrian Jet, and act which Russia proclaims is a provocation of war. Syria denounced the attack suggesting the United States is defending ISIS.
It was the first time in 20 years the United States had shot down a war plane of any type in air to air combat, let alone a Syrian Jet.
The last time a U.S. jet had shot down a sovereign country’s aircraft during the Kosovo conflict in 1999 when a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle shot down a Serbian MiG-29
However on Sunday, it was the U.S. F-18 Super Hornet that shot down a Syrian SU-22 after that jet dropped bombs near U.S. partner forces taking on ISIS.
Russia's own defense ministry also said on Monday that it was suspending coordination with the U.S. in Syria over so-called "de-confliction zones" after the intentional shooting down of the Syrian jet.
A long standing agreement between The United States and Russia to prevent any in the Air incidents between the two countries has existed since 2015 where the US and Russia have been providing air cover for Syria's President Bashar Assad in his offensive against ISIS.
Both U.S. and Russian jets are heavily engaged in operations over Syria. Russia claimed that Washington's “deliberate failure to make good on its commitments” under the de-confliction deal between the two military powerhouses.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, spoke to Russian media comparing the downing of the Syrian jet to “helping the terrorists that the U.S. is fighting against. What is this, if not an act of aggression.” he asked.
The Pentagon stated “U.S. pilots operating over Syria won't hesitate to defend themselves from Russian threats.”
In a White House Press Briefing Monday in regards the latest escalation between the two superpowers since a U.S. jet shot down a Syrian aircraft, Sean Spicer said, “Our pilots have a right to defend themselves.”
The Russian Defense Ministry has quickly released a response stating that now “All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets.”
In a live interview from Baghdad, Colonel Ryan Dillon said, “We are going to continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, providing air support for coalition and partnered forces on the ground.”
“This is a delicate couple of hours,” Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Monday just before speaking at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington. He said that he had no plans to immediately call his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, while the American military was still determining facts on the ground, but that he would talk to him “in time.”