Putin warns war between US and Iran would be 'catastrophe'

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinDemocrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission How Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann's offer to an oligarch could boomerang on DOJ Key Merkel ally set to test Trump amid tensions with Europe MORE on Thursday warned that war between the U.S. and Iran would be a “catastrophe” as tensions between the two countries heighten following the downing of a U.S. military drone.

“It would be a catastrophe, for the region at the very minimum, because it will lead to an increase of violence, and potential increase in refugees from the region,” Putin said during an annual “direct line” with the Russian public. “But also, for those who would attempt it, it could have possibly sad consequences.”

His comments come as the U.S. military accuses Iran of shooting down a drone over international waters in an “unprovoked attack.”

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Those accusations follow the Trump administration's assertion that Tehran was behind the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. More recently, the administration said it would deploy an additional 1,000 troops to the region to address “air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the Middle East.

Tehran responded by declaring it would exceed the uranium enrichment limit that was agreed to in the Obama-era nuclear deal. President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE withdrew the U.S. from the agreement last year, and Iran had adhered to the pact’s guidelines until now.

Trump this week called the oil tanker attacks “minor,” but said he would “certainly go [to war] over nuclear weapons.”

Putin, an ally of the Iranian government, said Iran would go “to the extremes” to defend itself, and that it’s difficult to tell how the situation will be resolved.

Trump on Thursday appeared to give Iran the benefit of the doubt regarding the drone incident, saying, “I imagine someone made a mistake.”

When asked by reporters how he intends to respond, Trump said, “You’ll find out.”