Global 'chaos' if Syria hit again: Putin
Jack Stubbs And Laila Bassam
April 16, 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.
In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Sunday, Putin and Rouhani agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement.
"Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the UN Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations," the Kremlin statement said.
Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told CBS' Face the Nation program that the US would announce new economic sanctions on Monday aimed at companies "that were dealing with equipment" related to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged chemical weapons use.
On Saturday, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7.
The Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied involvement in any such attack.
Responding to Haley's remarks about the plans for new sanctions, Evgeny Serebrennikov, deputy head of the defence committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, said Moscow was ready for the penalties, according to RIA news agency.
"They are hard for us, but will do more damage to the USA and Europe," RIA quoted Serebrennikov as saying.
In Damascus, Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, met inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW for about three hours in the presence of Russian officers and a senior Syrian security official.
The inspectors were due to attempt to visit the Douma site. Moscow condemned the Western states for refusing to wait for OPCW's findings before attacking.
Assad told a group of visiting Russian lawmakers that the Western missile strikes were an act of aggression, Russian news agencies reported.
Syria released video of the wreckage of a bombed-out research lab, but also of Assad arriving at work as usual, with the caption "morning of resilience" and there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Russian agencies quoted the lawmakers as saying that Assad was in a "good mood", had praised the Soviet-era air defence systems Syria used to repel the Western attacks and had accepted an invitation to visit Russia at an unspecified time.
Meanwhile Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow would make every effort to improve political relations with the West, TASS news agency reported on Sunday.
Ryabkov also said Russia would study a UN resolution on Syria proposed by the US, France and Britain, but added that it would be hard to reach a compromise on the issue, TASS reported.
It's not known when the resolution would be put to a vote.