Kremlin tells U.S. it’s ‘one step from war’ as Trump warns he will hit Syria AGAIN after his attack on Russia’s ally Assad triggers fears of World War Three
- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev denounced Donald Trump
- In the first direct American raid on Bashar al Assad’s forces, US President authorised the firing of 59 cruise missiles at military airfield
- Officials said it was retaliation for Assad’s use of chemical weapons
- US ambassador to UN: ‘We are prepared to do more but we hope that will not be necessary’
- Vladimir Putin has now diverted warship the Admiral Grigorovich to protect the Syrian coast
- Syrian aircraft took off from al-Shayrat airfield on Friday in apparent act of defiance
The Kremlin has warned the US it is ‘one step from war’ over Syria – but the Trump administration hit back by saying it would be prepared to carry out airstrikes again.
In the first direct American raid on Bashar al Assad’s forces, President Trump authorised the firing of 59 cruise missiles at a military airfield.
Mr Medvedev said: ‘This military action is a clear indication of the US president’s extreme dependency on the views of the Washington establishment, the one that the new president strongly criticised in his inauguration speech.’
‘Soon after his victory, I noted that everything would depend on how soon Trump’s election promises would be broken by the existing power machine. It took only two and a half months.
’The last remaining election fog has lifted. Instead of an overworked statement about a joint fight against the biggest enemy, ISIS, the Trump administration proved that it will fiercely fight the legitimate Syrian government’.
But the US President warned he would do it again after unleashing a surprise attack on the Syrian regime with a massive show of firepower.
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) last night denounced Donald Trump for attacking ‘the legitimate government of Syria’ and said the US was ‘on the verge of a military clash with Russia’. Trump warned he would do it again after unleashing a surprise attack on the Syrian regime
Officials said it was retaliation for Assad’s use of chemical weapons and would ‘deter’ further atrocities. The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley (above), said that her country had taken ‘a very measured step’. She added: ‘We are prepared to do more but we hope that will not be necessary’
Officials said it was retaliation for Assad’s use of chemical weapons and would ‘deter’ further atrocities. The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said that her country had taken ‘a very measured step’.
She added: ‘We are prepared to do more but we hope that will not be necessary.’
Vladimir Putin yesterday also denounced the US missile strikes as an illegal act of aggression against a sovereign nation.
The furious Russian president responded to the attack against his ally by diverting warship the Admiral Grigorovich to protect the Syrian coast and vowing to bolster Assad’s missile defences against further bombing raids.
He also suspended a military hotline known as the ‘deconfliction line’ which is designed to avoid mid-air collisions and confrontations between Russian and US fighter jets over the war-torn country.
Destruction: These images show the extent of the destruction wrought on Syria’s al-Shayrat military airfield by US Tomahawk missiles on Thursday
Damage: The photos show that the missiles – which were launched from 150 miles away by US destroyers – were terrifyingly accurate, slamming down on the shelters and ripping up runways
The strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat air base (above) in central Syria, where U.S. officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off
The American action drew a furious response from the Kremlin, which accused the US of violating international law. Above, the moment USS Ross fired one of 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria from the Mediterranean
‘The US strike was a proportionate response to unspeakable acts that gave rise to overwhelming humanitarian distress,’ said UK ambassador Matthew Rycroft
Russia’s envoy to the UN called the attack a ‘flagrant violation of international law and an act of aggression’
The two old Cold War superpowers clashed at the UN Security Council where a Russian envoy claimed US ‘aggression’ had strengthened terrorism.
But Mrs Haley said the Russian government held ‘considerable responsibility’ for Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
‘Every time Assad has crossed the line of human decency, Russia has stood beside him,’ she said.
He had terrorised his country and shocked the conscience of the world, Mrs Haley added.
‘He murdered hundreds of thousands and displaced millions’.
On Tuesday Assad launched ‘yet another chemical attack, murdering men women and children in the most gruesome way’, Mrs Haley said.
‘Assad did this because he thought he could get away with it. He thought he knew Russia would have his back.’
Vladimir Putin responded to the attack against his ally by diverting warship the Admiral Grigorovich to protect the Syrian coast and vowing to bolster Assad’s missile defences against further bombing raids
US killed four children, Syria claims
US air strikes killed nine civilians including four children, the Syrian state news agency claimed yesterday.
It reported that stray missiles targeted at Shayrat airbase – said to be the launch pad for Tuesday’s gas attack – killed and wounded civilians a few miles away.
If true, this is embarrassing for President Donald Trump, who justified the airstrike by talking of ‘beautiful babies cruelly murdered’ in the chemical attack blamed on the Syrian regime.
The Sana news agency is, however, effectively a mouthpiece for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, promoting his activities, denying any breaches of international law by his forces and attacking his enemies.
Last night there was no independent verification of the claim that US strikes killed and wounded civilians outside the airbase south of Homs.
But Assad’s office said: ‘What America did is nothing but foolish and irresponsible behaviour, which only reveals its short-sightedness and political and military blindness to reality.’
Mrs Haley said that changed with the American strike: ‘When the international community fails in its duty to act collectively there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.’
The use of chemical weapons against civilians is ‘one of those times’, she said, adding: ‘The moral stain of the Assad regime could no longer go unanswered.
‘The United States took a very measured step last night.
‘We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary.
‘It is time for all civilised nations to stop the horrors that are taking place in Syria and demand a political solution.’
The action marked a dramatic U-turn from the new US administration.
In the final days of last year’s election campaign, Mr Trump warned a ‘shooting war in Syria’ could bring the US into a conflict with Russia that could ‘very well lead to World War III’.
In an emotive broadcast in the early hours of yesterday morning, Mr Trump said he was responding to the Syrian regime’s attack – believed to have involved sarin nerve agents – on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun which left at least 72 people dead, including 20 children.
‘Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many,’ he said.
‘Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.’
Downing Street was swift to back the action.
At the UN, Britain came out in strong support of its ally ‘because war crimes have consequences and the greatest war criminal of all, Bashar al Assad, has now been put on notice,’ said UK ambassador Matthew Rycroft.
‘The US strike was a proportionate response to unspeakable acts that gave rise to overwhelming humanitarian distress,’ he added.
‘It was also a strong effort to save lives, by ensuring such acts never happen again.’
Russia had been ‘humiliated by its failure to bring to heel a puppet dictator, entirely propped up by Russia itself and Hezbollah and Iran’, he said.
Moscow compared the US action with the invasion of Iraq by American and British forces in 2003.
In an emotive broadcast in the early hours of yesterday morning, Mr Trump said he was responding to the Syrian regime’s attack – believed to have involved sarin nerve agents – on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun which left at least 72 people dead, including 20 children