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Putin Warns that Syrian Strike ‘Will Inflict Major Damage on U.S.-Russia Ties.’

April 7, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the U.S. strike against Syria "will inflict major damage on U.S.-Russia ties." A comment from the Press Service of the President of Russia, published at 9:00 A.M. this morning, states:

"The President of Russia regards the U.S. 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 specialized 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 U.S. air strike on an air base in Syria] has dealt a serious blow to Russian-U.S. 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 U.S. President Donald Trump declared as one of his main goals during his election campaign."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that, although the United States did give Russia advance warning of the strike through technical channels, "Nobody called Putin."

Peskov added:

"As for the changes in the geopolitical situation after these attacks, let’s watch the situation develop together. So far, one can definitively say that that the strikes impaired the fight against terrorism,"

and also that the strikes are seen as an act of aggression against Russia’s ally.

Peskov confirmed that Russia has suspended the Memorandum on preventing military incidents and ensuring aviation security that was signed with the United States. "This memorandum lost its meaning last night when the attack was carried out," he said.

"What is unambiguous is the fact that the strikes [by the U.S. on Syria] de facto were delivered in the interests of the ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra, and other terrorist organizations,"

he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Tashkent, emphasized the fabricated pretext for the air strikes.

"This is reminiscent of the situation in 2003, when the U.S. and the U.K., along with some of their allies, invaded Iraq without the consent of the UN Security Council and in violation of international law."

He added that this time,

"They did not even bother to provide any facts, referring only to photos. They indulged in speculations on children’s photos, on evidence provided by various non-governmental organizations, including the so-called White Helmets, which staged various ‘incidents’ to instigate action against the Syrian government."

Moscow will demand the truth of the Idlib events, Lavrov stressed.

"It is regrettable that all these causes do more harm to the already damaged relations between Russia and the United States. Hope remains that these provocations will not entail irreversible effects. I don’t know when we will be able to find out how the U.S. made the decision to attack Syria. But we must demand that the truth be unveiled and we will do it."

In a military assessment of the strikes, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on April 7 that only 23 of the 59 missiles struck their targets. "The combat effectiveness of the U.S. massive missile strike on Syria’s airbase was thus very low," the ministry’s spokesman stressed.

"According to the data recording equipment, only 23 missiles reached the Syrian airbase. The place of the fall of the other missiles is unknown."

"It is obvious that the U.S. cruise missiles attack on the Syrian air base had been planned well beforehand," said Konashenkov. "The show of military muscle stemmed exclusively from internal political motives," he said. Pentagon cooperation suspended.

He added that the Russian military will now take measures to beef up Syrian air defenses.

"To protect the most sensitive facilities of the Syrian infrastructure, a set of measures will be taken in the immediate future to reinforce and raise the effectiveness of the Syrian armed forces air defense system,"

he said.

"Perhaps we can now expect U.S. aircraft flying in Syria to be lit up by Syrian and Russian air defense systems as a warning, at least at first. I wonder how many U.S. allies will still be excited to fly in Syria, then."