Russia To Upgrade Syria Air Defenses, Halts Air-Safety Agreement With The U.S.
Second attack on Syrian town hit by chemical weapons reported after Trump strikes in Idlib – live (ongoing updates)
Putin holds security council meeting
President Vladimir Putin has held a meeting of the security council to discuss the Russian response. “The participants expressed deep concern at the inevitable negative consequences of these aggressive actions for the joint efforts to fight terrorism,” said spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He said the security council also expressed regret at the harm the strike would do to US-Russian relations, and they discussed ways to continue the Russian air force operation in Syriato give support to Assad’s army.
Russia has suspended the memorandum of understanding on flight safety in Syria with the United States amid the US missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat military airfield, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement.
“Without bothering to investigate anything, the US went forward with a demonstration of force, a military confrontation with a country that is fighting international terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry’s statement reads.
The US launched some 60 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian military airbase in the Homs governorate early on Friday. The attack came after US President Donald Trump pinned the blame for an alleged chemical attack in Idlib on Syria’s government.
"Obviously, the cruise missile attack was prepared beforehand. Any expert can tell that the decision to strike was made in Washington before the events in Idlib, which were used as a pretext for a demonstration,” the statement reads.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the attack as an example of the “reckless attitude” that has only worsened “existing world issues” and created a “threat to international security.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry firmly dismissed any allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian military, saying Syria’s government does not possess any such weapons. This was confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The OPCW has “inspected virtually all the objects in Syria which were connected, or could be connected, to the country’s chemical warfare program.”
The incident in Idlib was a result of an air raid by Syrian forces, which hit a facility where terrorists produced chemical filled shells for usage in Syria and Iraq, Moscow believes.
“The US pretends it doesn’t get obvious things. It turned a blind eye on terrorist usage of chemical weapons in Iraq, which Baghdad officially reported. It dismissed documented cases of terrorist chemical warfare usage in Aleppo. All this does is abet international terrorism and bolster it,” the statement reads, adding that new terrorist attacks “with weapons of mass destruction” are now to be expected.
This reminds us of the 2003 situation, when the US and the UK, along with their allies, intervened in Iraq without approval from the UN Security Council, which was a blatant breach of international law,” Lavrov said.
The US rushed to pin the blame for the chemical warfare incident in Iblib on Syria’s government, but did not bother to provide any evidence for such claims, Lavrov said.
“Which brings us back to the thought that Al-Nusra Front is regarded by the West as an organization that should be preserved,” he stressed.
President Putin “regards the strikes as aggression against a sovereign nation,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, noting that the president believes the strikes were carried out “in violation of international law, and also under an invented pretext
Putin sees the US missile strike on Syria as an attempt to distract attention from civilian casualties in Iraq, Peskov added.
“This step deals significant damage to US-Russian ties, which are already in a deplorable state,” Peskov said.
The US has been ignoring the use of chemical weapons by terrorists and this is dramatically aggravating the situation, in Putin’s opinion, his spokesman said.
The US missile attack in Syria was "de facto" in the interests of Daesh and other terrorists, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"The fact is that we no longer know what goals Washington pursued when deciding to carry out these strikes, but it is univocal that they are launched de facto in the interests of Daesh, al-Nusra Front and other terrorists. In this connection, we can only express regret," Peskov said.
The United States' deadly missile strikes on a Syrian airfield damage the cause of counterterrorist efforts, Dmitry Peskov said Friday.
"So far, it can be said unequivocally that these strikes did harm to the fight against terrorism," Peskov told reporters.
Commenting on US President Donald Trump's calls during the 2016 campaign to join forces against terrorist groups, Peskov said "everything that happened was quite the opposite."
"Because of the attack on the Syrian airbase, Russia's interaction with the United States can be interrupted. We believe that this is an act of aggression, one cannot look at it otherwise. Fifty-nine bombs fell on Shayrat airfield. Everything that Donald Trump has said before about Syria has lost its meaning. The deed has been done. I do not really understand what kind of game they are playing there. But we will respond to this," Viktor Ozerov told Pravda.Ru.
The United States' missile strikes on a military airfield in Syria violates international law and represents an act of aggression against a sovereign state under a far-fetched pretext, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.
"President [Vladimir] Putin regards the US attacks on Syria as an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that," Pesov told reporters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also sees the latest US missile strikes on a military airfield in Syria as an attempt to distract from the mounting civilian casualties in Iraq, the Kremlin added.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had confirmed that Syrian armed forces do not possess chemical weapons, the Kremlin cited Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying Friday while warning of the danger of ignoring terrorist use of chemical weapons.
"The fact of the destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles has been recorded and confirmed by the OPCW, a specialized UN unit," Peskov told reporters.
"At the same time, in Putin's opinion, total disregard for the use of chemical weapons by terrorists only drastically aggravates the situation," Peskov said.
The United States has launched a massive airstrike targeting the Shayrat air base in an assault that, according to the Pentagon, was carried out "in retaliation" for President Bashar al-Assad ostensibly ordering a chemical attack against civilians. Russian Senator Igor Morozov compared the operation to America's prior military interventions.
"The attack on the air base resembles the bombing of Yugoslavia, the military intervention in Iraq, the destruction of Libya and other instances when the United States violated international law," Morozov, a senior member of the upper house of the Russian parliament, told Sputnik. "It has become evident that the chemical attack in Idlib was America's provocation to justify the airstrike on the base."
On Tuesday, the United States and its allies accused President Bashar al-Assad of using toxic compounds in an attack that claimed nearly 80 lives and left 200 injured on the outskirts of Khan Shaykhun, a town in the rebel-held province of Idlib. The Russian Defense Ministry later explained that the Syrian Arab Air Force carried out a mission in the area, striking a large militant ammunition depot which stored chemical weapons as well as military hardware.