Russian PM: Moscow, US on ‘the verge of a military clash’
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday condemned the U.S. missile strike in Syria, saying it puts Moscow and Washington “on the verge of a military clash.”
“This military action is a clear indication of the US President’s extreme dependency on the opinion of the Washington establishment, the one that the new president strongly criticized in his inauguration speech,” he wrote on Facebook.
Medvedev said the missile strike is “really sad for our now completely ruined relations” with the U.S. and “good news for terrorists.”
“The Trump administration proved it will fiercely fight the legitimate Syrian government, in a tough contradiction with international law and without UN approval, in violation of its own procedures stipulating that the Congress must first be notified of any military operation unrelated to aggression against the U.S.”
President Trump authorized a missile launch into Syria late Thursday in response to a chemical attack earlier this week that U.S. and other Western officials believe was conducted by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Pentagon said warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles during the strike, which targeted the Shayrat Air Base, the reported origin of a chemical attack.
The U.S. strike reportedly killed at least seven people and is the first direct American assault against Assad’s government.
Russia has backed Assad’s government in the country’s years-long civil war and has long been at odds with the U.S., which has been conducting its own counter-terrorism operations in the country and called for Assad to step down.
Russia and the U.S. set up a special line of communication in October 2015 to avoid a confrontation between the two countries’ forces. The U.S. used that line to warn Russia of the airstrike.
“Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line,” Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said in a statement Thursday. “U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that Russia is now suspending the communication channel.