MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the strike on Syria launched by the United States and its allies as an “act of aggression” that will exacerbate humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.
In a statement issued by the Kremlin, the Russian leader said Moscow is calling an emergency meeting of the United Nations’ Security Council over the strike launched by the US, Britain and France.
Putin added that the strike had a “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations.”
He reaffirmed Russia’s view that a purported chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma that prompted the strike was a fake.
Putin added that Russian military experts who inspected Douma found no trace of the attack. He criticized the US and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for inspectors from the international chemical weapons watchdog to visit the area.
Meanwhile, Russia’s defense ministry said Saturday the Western strikes claimed no victims among Syrian civilians or military.
“According to preliminary information, there were no victims among peaceful civilians and the Syrian military,” senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing in Moscow.
The Russian military said that 103 cruise missiles were fired including Tomahawk missiles but that Syrian air defense systems managed to intercept 71 cruise missiles.
“All together, 103 cruise missiles were deployed,” senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing in Moscow. “71 cruise missiles were intercepted.”
Rudskoi said Syria had Soviet-made defense systems that Moscow has “completely overhauled,” including S-200 systems and Buk missiles.
He called the lack of casualties the result of the “excellent skills of the Syrian military trained by our specialists.”
Moscow could now revisit its decision not to supply Damascus with its more recent S-300 air defense system, Rudskoi said.
“Considering what has happened, we consider it possible to reassess this question and not just as far as concerns Syria, but other countries too,” Rudskoi said.
Putin in 2013 said after talks with European Union leaders that Moscow had refrained from supplying the powerful S-300 air defense systems to Assad’s government.
However Russia has S-300 and the more recent S-400 systems protecting its air base and naval facility in Syria.