June 19, 2017
MOSCOW — Russia on Monday condemned the American military’s downing of a Syrian warplane, suspending the use of a military hotline that Washington and Moscow have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace and threatening to target aircraft flown by the United States and its allies over Syria.
The moves were the most recent example of an intensifying clash of words and interests between the two powers, which support different sides in the yearslong war in Syria.
The Russian military has threatened to halt its use of the hotline in the past — notably after President Trump ordered the launch of missiles against a Syrian air base in April — only to continue and even expand its contacts with the United States military. It was not clear whether the latest suspension would be lasting.
Its announcement came in response to an American F/A-18 jet’s shooting down a Syrian government warplane south of the town of Tabqah on Sunday, after the Syrian aircraft dropped bombs near local ground forces supported by the United States. It was the first time the American military had downed a Syrian plane since the civil war began in the country in 2011.