When US forces shot down a Syrian warplane for the first time in the country’s six-year war, both Russian and US media outlets pontificated over what the latest move could mean for US-Russia relations that are already stretched quite thin.
The US military’s decision to down a jet belonging to Syria, Russia’s ally, clearly angered the Kremlin, which promptly announced the suspension their participation in the deconfliction line, which helps the two military super powers avoid striking each other and triggering a larger war.
Russia also said it would target US and US-led coalition aircraft flying where its forces were operating west of the Euphrates river.
But while some US outlets speculated whether Russia would follow through with its threats, Russian media criticised the US’s downing of a Syrian plane in within its own borders as “lies about self-defence.”
“The US could find no better way or marking out its territory than by shooting down a plane,” wrote
Federal News Agency, one of the central news outlets coming from the Kremlin. “But because they could not announce such a position openly, they are covering it up with lies about ‘self-defence.'”
As the Kremlin rejected the US military’s version of downing a plane after government forces attacked an opposition-held area, most major Russian media outlets accused the US of “meddling” in Syria’s government affairs.
“The Pentagon’s meddling into the Syrian army’s military action has become systematic and intolerable,” wrote Aleksandr Hrolenko for RIA Novosti, another media outlet owned by the Russian state. Hrolenko further called defence secretary James Mattis Trump’s “mad dog” and accused the US of “bombing almost entirely helpless Syrians” to show off to the Russian military.
State-owned Russia Times even took the added step of interviewing American congressman Ron Paul, who told the outlet that the US should “mind its own business” by staying out of Syria.
While both countries have called for an end to the fighting in Syria, Russia and the US have also accused the other of escalating the conflict and standing in the way of peace through military and financial support.
“The US takes ‘defence’ to mean a few too many things,” read another article by Russia’s Federal News Agency.
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