Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Russian Federation warns the U.S. that Syrian airstrikes could spark war

Russian Federation warns the U.S. that Syrian airstrikes could spark war

It comes after UK Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with President Trump and the pair agreed "the Assad regime had established a pattern of risky behaviour in relation to the use of chemical weapons". They are expected to arrive on Saturday.

But relations have instead soured over mounting evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Russia's alleged poisoning of a former double agent in Britain and Putin's support of Assad's government in Syria.

The UK has placed the blame for the Skripal poisoning firmly at Russian feet, saying it's the only country with the means, motive, and technical ability to carry out the attack on UK soil.

"They agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, and on the need to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regimen", a spokesman said, adding that they were still working on an worldwide response.

Russia, which has backed the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has joined Damascus in denying an attack even took place - even though USA authorities have declared it did with near certainty.

According to General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the strikes hit three targets related to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons programme - a scientific research centre near Damascus, a weapons storage facility west of Homs and a third location that contained both a command post and an equipment storage facility in the same area. It also said Russian officers found no patients with chemical attack symptoms at a local hospital, and no indication of any burials of victims.

Mr Trump, who has cancelled a planned trip overseas, has been canvassing support for strikes from the leaders of France and the UK.

"The worst apprehensions have come true", Antonov said in a tweet reported by ABC News. It "could be very soon or not so soon at all", he said.

The outgoing head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, this week appeared to confirm reports that around 200 Russian mercenaries were killed in February during a clash with US-led forces in Syria.

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John Hannah, senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has worked with Bolton in the past, said Bolton was opposed to "empty symbolic gestures that make us feel good but have no strategic effects".

"I believe there was a chemical attack and we're looking for the actual evidence", Mattis said.

He called the alleged chemical attack in Douma a scripted play.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", said Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.

He accused Washington of putting worldwide peace at risk and said the situation was "very dangerous".

Senior Russian figures, including the head of the military, warned that United States missiles will be shot down and their launch sites targeted if Russian personnel come under threat, the report said.

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich criticised Mr Trump's rhetoric.

"It includes us but it also includes Russian Federation so Russia can veto any action of the Security Council and have pretty much indicated they would do so if the Security Council starts to act against Assad".

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