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Russia Suspends Use of Military Hotline After U.S. Attack on Syrian Warplane

Russia issued on Monday a strong rebuke of the American military's shooting down a Syrian warplane that dropped bombs on United States-supported ground troops in the country. In response to what the Russian Defense Ministry called the U.S.'s "military aggression," Russia suspended the use of a hotline that has helped to prevent air conflict between the intervening powers in Syria, despite military aims that often stand in direct opposition, the New York Times reports.

The attack on the Syrian plane, which took place on Sunday, was the first time a Syrian aircraft had been shot down by the U.S. in the entirety of the six-year civil war. It marked the latest example of the American military's increasingly active intervention in the conflict since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president in January. In April, the U.S. launched a missile strike on a Syrian air base in response to a chemical attack allegedly perpetrated by the Syrian government against its own citizens.

The Pentagon acknowledged the taut diplomatic situation—General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called it "a tense couple of hours"—but assured reporters that the military hotline had been in use Monday morning, and that the U.S. military was working with Russia to "to re-establish deconfliction," according to the Times.