September 20, 2018 - 10:39 AMT
After Russian plane crash, U.S. Navy says ready to provide assistance

The U.S. Navy 6th Fleet is informed about the Russian Il-20 deadly aircraft crash in the Mediterranean and is ready to provide assistance at sea to any country if needed, the 6th Fleet public affairs officer, Cmdr. Kyle Raines said, according to Sputnik International.

"We are aware of the reporting on the loss of a Russian military aircraft. Our ships stand ready to assist any nation when called upon to render assistance at sea, which is a fundamental element of responsible mariners," Raines said on Wednesday.

Raines, however, did not say if the Russian Defense Ministry had requested the assistance of the U.S. side in relation to the incident.

The Russian Hmeymim airbase lost contact with the Il-20 military aircraft late on Monday during the attack of four Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the Syrian western Latakia province. All 15 servicemen on board the plane were killed in the crash.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that a search and rescue operation, involving eight Russian vessels, had been launched after the aircraft crash.

The ministry accused the Israeli forces of the deadly incident, pointing out that the Israeli military deliberately created a dangerous situation by using the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems.