Russia warns of ‘consequences’ for US-led strike on Syria
Russia responded angrily to a U.S.-led strike against Syria, warning of unspecified “consequences” that stoked fears the conflict could escalate.
President Donald Trump ordered targeted military action in the country late Friday, following an alleged chemical weapons attack that reportedly left dozens of citizens dead. In recent months, international efforts to broker a ceasefire and organize a humanitarian response to the country’s crisis have faltered in the face of stiff opposition from both Russia and Syria.
Russia, which has backed the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has joined Damascus in denying an attack even took place — even though U.S. authorities have declared it did with near certainty. The dispute over Syria was the latest wedge between the West and Russia, which has been embroiled in multiple controversies with western governments.
In a statement released on Twitter, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. said the country was being “threatened,” and issued an ominous warning that reprisals could follow. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, branded the coalition strike as an “act of aggression,” as he demanded an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Saturday.
Statement by the Ambassador Antonov on the strikes on #Syria:
A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.
All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.
In the near term, the military strike appeared to ramp up a searing war of words between Washington and Moscow, which regarded the action as a attack on Russia itself.
The Associated Press, citing a Russian media outlet, quoted a top Russian official as likening Trump to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, said Trump “can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time — because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union,” the AP reported.
Trump has singled out Putin for his support of Assad, as well as Iran. In his speech announcing military action in Syria, Trump pointedly asked: “What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?”
Trump and the Pentagon hailed the success of the limited strike, while Russia continued to find its ambitions stymied. On Saturday, the UN Security Council voted down a Russian-sponsored resolution that would have denounced the military action.
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