Putin vows to help Syrian regime in case of US attack

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Russian military support for the Assad regime has long been a main bone of contention between the two leaders. Then-Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPortman ad ties Dem Strickland to Clinton coal comments US must help keep Georgia on 'our' side Former Reagan official: Trump 'a risk we can't take' MORE last year accused Russia of making the conflict much worse by shipping attack helicopters to Assad's forces, and this week Secretary of Defense Chuck HagelChuck HagelThere's still time for another third-party option Hagel says NATO deployment could spark a new Cold War with Russia Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill MORE made waves when he said Syria relied on Russian technology for its chemical weapons program.

Russian obstruction at the United Nations Security Council has also infuriated the administration. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha PowerSamantha PowerUN: Syrian regime used chlorine gas on civilians Why the next UN secretary-general should be a woman UN: Iran complying with letter, not spirit, of nuclear deal MORE, on Thursday said Russia was holding the world body “hostage” and that the United States would act alone to preserve U.N. values.

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