A senior U.S. general harshly slammed Russia for delivering S-300 air defense system to Syria as a result of downing IL-20 plane on September 18.

Army General Joseph Votel, who oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East, described Russia’s decision as a ‘needless escalation” and a “knee-jerk response” to downing the Russian aircraft.

Votel went further by accusing Moscow of help shielding “nefarious activities” carried out by Iranian and Syrian forces through deploying the S-300 system.

The S-300 deployment “appears to be an effort to cover for Iranian and Syrian regime nefarious activities in Syria. So, again, I think this is a needless, needless escalation,” Votel told reporters at the Pentagon.

In the same context, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of Israel’s security cabinet, acknowledged that the S-300 deployment was “a problematic matter for us.” “And it could be for the Americans too. This is a system which certainly makes things difficult for us and requires that solutions be found,” Steinitz told Israel’s Army Radio.

Russia has decided to supply the Syrian Army with the advanced S-300 missiles after Israel was held responsible for downing a Russian IL-20 aircraft on September 18.

The tragic incident occurred while Israeli F-16s were carrying out air raids against Syrian Army positions in Latakia city.

The first delivery of S-300 missiles has been unloaded in the Russian airbase of Hmiemim two days ago.

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