Russian defense chief: US missile strike on Syria threatened Russian troops

Russian defense chief: US missile strike on Syria threatened Russian troops
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Russia's defense minister on Wednesday said that a U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase earlier this month put Russian troops at risk, forcing the Kremlin to take "extra measures" to protect its military personnel.

"Washington's action created a threat to the lives of our servicemen who are fighting against terrorism in Syria," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a security conference in Moscow, Reuters reported.

"Such steps are forcing us to take extra measures to ensure the safety of Russian forces," he added. 

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Shoigu also reiterated the Russian government's previous assertions that the U.S. strike was an act of aggression against a sovereign government and violated international law. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE ordered the strike on Syria's Shayrat airbase earlier this month in response to a sarin gas attack in the country's Idlib Province carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad's military. The gas attack killed more than 80 civilians, including many children.

Russia, a staunch ally of the Assad regime, has cast doubt on the Syrian government's involvement in the chemical attack and has sought to blame the episode on terrorist groups in the region. 

The U.S. notified the Kremlin of its intention to carry out the missile strike, and no Russian troops were killed or wounded in the attack. Still, the attack increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia.