Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

One week after a Russian plane was accidentally shot down by Syrian missiles launched at Israeli fighter jets, Russia has announced it will supply the Syrian army with sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

Why it matters: Israel has asked the Russians for many years to avoid supplying S-300 missiles to Syria because it could limit the Israeli air force's freedom of operation in Syria. The Russian announcement threatens to break the coordination mechanism between the two countries in Syria and unravel what was thought to be a close relationship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The latest developments:

  • Israel sent the commander of its air force to Moscow to provide the Russians with information about the incident. The Israelis made clear the Syrians shot down the Russian plane long after Israeli jets left the area.
  • The Russian investigation concluded that while Israel did not shoot down the plane, it was still responsible for the incident. The Russians claimed the Israelis didn't observe the coordination agreements between the two militaries — and their airstrike in Syria put the Russian plane in danger.
  • Today, the Russian minister of defense announced a series of new military steps in Syria. In addition to providing the S-300 missiles, Russia will equip the Syrian air defenses with automated control systems to guarantee that all Russian planes are identified by the Syrians. Russia will also provide the technology to jam satellite navigation, airborne radars and communication systems of Israeli fighter jets that conduct airstrikes along the Syrian coast.

Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu said today that Russia agreed in 2013 to an Israeli request not to supply the missiles to Syria, but added that after the incident, "things have changed and it isn't Russia's fault." He stressed that he is convinced the new Russian measures "will cool down the hotheads [in Israel] and prevent ill-considered actions threatening Russian soldiers."

Putin spoke on the phone with Netanyahu today and told him that the Russian decision to supply Syria with the missiles was appropriate in order to protect the security of Russian troops. Putin added that the actions taken by the Israeli Air Force had a central role in the tragedy of the Russian plane.

  • Putin also told Netanyahu the information supplied by the Israeli Air Force about the downing of the Russian plane doesn't coincide with the conclusions of the Russian Ministry of Defense. 
  • White House national security adviser John Bolton criticized the Russian decision to supply the missiles to Syria and said it was a grave escalation and a mistake by the Russians. Bolton said he hopes the Russians will reconsider. 

Netanyahu told Putin that transferring sophisticated weapon systems to irresponsible hands will make the situation in the region more dangerous and that Israel will continue defending its security and upholding its regional interests. 

  • He added he has full confidence in the Israeli Air Force investigation of the incident and added that the responsibility for shooting down the Russian plane is on the Syrian army — and Iran, whose aggression is destabilizing the region.

A senior State Department official told me that the move will only raise the risk of escalation and increase the risk to U.S. and partnered forces conducting anti-ISIS operations in Syria.  The State Department official added that "it also reconfirms Russia’s continued protection of the Assad regime and ultimate responsibility for the regime’s actions". 

  • The State Department official also stressed: "Let us be clear, it was Syrian anti-aircraft systems that shot down Russia’s aircraft. Introducing even more air defenses does not solve the problem of Syria’s unprofessional and indiscriminate firing of missiles, or reduce the risk to regional aviation."

What's next: Over the last few years, the Israeli air force has prepared for the possibility of Syria getting S-300s from the Russians. Nevertheless, Israel will have to be calculated and careful when conducting any future airstrikes against Iranian or Hezbollah targets in Syria.

  • This crisis was a test of the close relationship between Putin and Netanyahu. Today's announcement shows Putin chose to side with his generals and not with Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister might try to engage in some damage control, but it's hard to see the Russians backtracking on supplying the missiles to Syria.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.