Russia has suspended a deal with the US to prevent mid-air collisions over Syria in response to the missile strike on a Syrian air base.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the attack ‘aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law’.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow is suspending the memorandum with the US to prevent incidents and ensure flight safety.
Under the memorandum, signed after Russia launched an air campaign in Syria in September 2015, Russia and the US had exchanged information about their flights to avoid incidents in the crowded skies over Syria.
Russia has several dozen warplanes and batteries of air-defence missiles at its base in Syria.
Mr Peskov said that Mr Putin believed the US had carried out the strikes under a ‘far-fetched pretext’.
He said America had ignored previous incidents involving the use of chemical weapons by Syrian rebels, and that the Syrian government had destroyed such stockpiles under international control.
Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he believes that the US has carried out the strikes under a ‘far-fetched pretext’.
Russia has argued that the deaths of civilians in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday resulted from Syrian forces hitting a rebel chemical arsenal there.
Mr Peskov said that the US has ignored past incidents of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian rebels. He argued that the Syrian government has destroyed its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control.
President Trump’s sudden decision to order air strikes against the Syrian government was an overnight evolution for a president who long warned against deeper American involvement in one of the world’s most stubbornly violent conflicts.
Here’s Kremlin’s statement in full
The President of Russia regards the US airstrikes on Syria as an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext. The Syrian Army has no chemical weapons.
The fact of the destruction of all Syrian chemical weapons’ stockpiles has been recorded and verified by the OPCW, a specialised UN body. Vladimir Putin believes that complete disregard for factual information about the use by terrorists of chemical weapons drastically aggravates the situation.
This move by Washington [the US airstrike on an air base in Syria] has dealt a serious blow to Russian-US relations, which are already in a poor state.
Most importantly, this move will not bring us closer to the ultimate goal of combatting international terrorism but will instead create a major obstacle to the establishment of an international counterterrorist coalition and to effective struggle against this global evil, something that US President Donald Trump declared as one of his main goals during his election campaign.
Vladimir Putin regards the US strikes on Syria as an attempt to draw public attention away from the numerous civilian casualties in Iraq.
On Friday, the United States launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at an air base in Homs Province in western Syria.
Trump orders launch of Tomahawk missiles on Syrian airbase
As he soberly announced the assault, Mr Trump argued that the move was still within the framework of his ‘America First’ foreign policy agenda.
The US, he said, has a ‘vital national security interest’ in stopping the proliferation of the kinds of chemical weapons the Syrian government used against its citizens earlier this week.
Yet Mr Trump’s actions left no doubt that – at least in this instance – his view of America’s role in the world has been altered.
Mr Trump is hardly the first president to reconsider his views after assuming the responsibility of controlling the world’s most powerful military.
But with a major shift coming just 77 days into his presidency, his may be one of the fastest transformations in recent memory.
After spending years warning US leaders that Syria was a dangerous quagmire, Mr Trump is said to have been moved by the gripping images of young Syrian children’s listless bodies that were beamed across the world following the chemical attack.