US attack on Syria significantly damaged US-Russia ties: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the US missile attack against a Syrian army airbase near Homs has violated the international law and done significant damage to Russia US ties, the Kremlin says.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the Russian leader regards the US action as an act of “aggression against a sovereign nation,” which was carried out based on a “made-up pretext.”

The attack was a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq, he added.

Peskov further said Russia did not believe that Syria possessed chemical weapons, and that the US attack would inevitably create a serious obstacle to creating an international coalition against terrorism.

Earlier in the day, the head of the defense and security committee at the Russian upper house of parliament said Russia will call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council over the attack.

Viktor Ozerov warned against the ramifications of the massive US airstrikes and noted, “This (the attack) could be viewed as an act of aggression of the U.S. against a UN nation.”

Chairman of the international affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament Konstantin Kosachev also said Russia’s coalition with the US on the Syria crisis is in doubt following the attack.

The strikes were intended to “stamp an earlier verdict about (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad’s responsibility for a chemical attack in Idlib with gunpowder,” Kosachev said.

On US President Donald Trump’s order, Washington launched a military strike Friday morning on a Syrian army airfield in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Khan Sheikhun, Idlib Province, earlier this week.

The Pentagon said the Russians deployed to the targeted military facility were given prior notice, and that attack did not hit sections of the airbase where Moscow’s forces were reportedly present.

Since 2014, the Russian military has been providing air cover to the Syrian forces operating on the ground against the terrorist groups.