Russia suspends cooperation with US after missile strikes
Syria has denied that it possesses chemical weapons and Russia held to its view that Assad had not bombed his own people.
Syria, Russia’s ally, condemned the U.S. strikes as “a disgraceful act.”
In addition to suspending the pact to coordinate air operations over Syria, an accord that was meant to prevent accidental encounters between the two militaries, Russia also said it would bolster Syria’s air defense systems, and was reported to be planning to send a frigate into the Mediterranean Sea to visit the logistics base at the Syrian port of Tartus.
Dmitri S. Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin of Russia, said that the point of the agreement had been to decrease danger in the air and that canceling it would not significantly increase that peril with missiles already flying around.
“Amid the missile strikes, it is hardly reasonable to talk about any more increase in the risk, as the risk has increased considerably,” Peskov said at a news briefing.
A statement from the office of President Bashar Assad of Syria said the U.S. missile strikes, which President Donald Trump said were a response to a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province on Tuesday that left more than 80 people dead, was the result of “a false propaganda campaign.”
Syria has denied that it possesses chemical weapons and Russia held to its view that Assad had not bombed his own people. The U.S. attack left six people dead, according to the Syrian army, and a military spokesman described the missile strikes as an act of “flagrant aggression.”
Peskov said that the cruise missile strikes on Friday represented a “significant blow” to American-Russian ties, and that Putin considered the attack a breach of international law that had been made under a false pretext. “The Syrian army has no chemical weapons at its disposal,” Peskov said.
The U.S. missiles destroyed a warehouse of material and technical property, a training building, a canteen, six MIG-23 aircraft in repair hangars and a radar station, according to the Russian military. A Russian television reporter, Evgeny Poddubny, who was at the air base, said nine planes had been destroyed.
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