Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. airstrike on a Syrian military base on Thursday violated international law.
The strike aimed 59 tomahawk missiles at the al-Shayrat base, the location from which U.S. intelligence believes that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical weapons attack.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Trump’s action an “aggression against a sovereign nation” in response to a “made-up pretext.”
“Washington’s step will inflict major damage on U.S.-Russia ties,” he added.
President Donald Trump ordered the airstrikes after viewing evidence that Assad again used chemical weapons against his own people.
The attack resulted in at least 85 casualties, 20 of whom were children.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated, “The very presence of U.S. troops and other countries on the territory of Syria, without the consent of the government or the decision of the UN Security Council is a gross, obvious and unwarranted violation of international law.”
“If before it was due to the task of combating terrorism, now there is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. U.S. actions taken today further destroy the Russian-American relations,” he added.
Trump said that the air strikes were conducted “in the vital national security interest of the United States.”
In response, Russia has suspended an agreement with the U.S. that prevents mid-air collisions in Syrian airspace.
Coordinated after a Russian airstrike campaign in 2015, the agreement allowed the U.S. and Russia to share their flight plans to avoid conflict.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has issued a call to stand down for all nations involved in the Syrian conflict in order to avoid more death and destruction.
“Mindful of the risk of escalation, I appeal for restraint to avoid any acts that could deepen the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said.
Trump’s airstrike has gained bipartisan support in the United States. Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., said, “I am hopeful these strikes will convince the Assad regime that such actions should never be repeated.”
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