Russia’s foreign ministry said Saturday that Western strikes on Syria came as the country had “a chance of a peaceful future,” and warned of “consequences” following the launch of US-led strikes against Bashar Assad’s regime in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.
“Again, we are being threatened,” Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said in a statement.
“We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.”
“Insulting the president of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible,” added the envoy, after US President Donald Trump directly called out his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over his support for the Assad regime.
Trump, in comments announcing the strikes, slammed Russia and Iran as “most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime.
“What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” he said. “The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep.”
Huge blasts were reported around Damascus early on Saturday, moments after the US, France, and Britain announced they were striking Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. US officials said the precision strikes hit a scientific research center near Damascus, a storage facility and command post also near the capital and a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs.
The joint operation came one week after a suspected chemical attack outside Damascus left more than 40 people dead.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook: “Those behind all this claim moral leadership in the world and declare they are exceptional. You need to be really exceptional to shell Syria’s capital at the moment when it had gained a chance of a peaceful future.”
Zakharova suggested that Western media bore some responsibility for the strikes, claiming the White House cited “multiple media sources” on the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma.
“American and other Western media must understand their responsibility for what happened,” Zakharova wrote.
The Russian defense ministry and the Kremlin had yet to make any comment on the strikes.
Meanwhile a highly placed Russian politician likened Trump to Adolf Hitler, and said he regarded the military action as a move against Russia.
Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, said Trump “can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time — because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union.”
That’s according to state news agency RIA-Novosti. The Nazi forces’ opening attack against the USSR in 1941 was launched around 4 a.m.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had said earlier he expected Russia and other Assad backers to pursue a “significant disinformation campaign” on the strikes.