After U.S. Strikes Syria, Russian PM Says It’s ‘On The Verge Of A Military Clash’

Sputnik via AP

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that U.S.-Russia relations were “completely ruined” after U.S. President Donald Trump approved a military strike against a Syrian air field Thursday night, and that the United States was “[o]n the verge of a military clash with Russia.”

Russia has supported Syrian President Bashar Assad with airstrikes against civilians, rebel groups and ideological extremists alike in Syria since late 2015.

A Pentagon spokesperson said Thursday, according to CNBC, that “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line” and “U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that the missile strike was “an act of aggression.” The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also suspended the memorandum of understanding that established the deconfliction channel, by which the two countries U.S. and shared military flight information in order to avoid confrontations or collisions.

Medvedev said Friday that “The last remaining election fog has lifted. Instead of an overworked statement about a joint fight against the biggest enemy, ISIS (the Islamic State), the Trump administration proved that it will fiercely fight the legitimate Syrian government.”

“Beyond that is absolute mistrust,” he added later. “Which is really sad for our now completely ruined relations. And which is good news for terrorists.”

Unnamed senior military officials told the Associated Press on Friday that the Pentagon was looking into whether Russia was involved in what appears to have been a poison gas attack on Tuesday from the Assad regime, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians.

On Wednesday, the Guardian reported, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the poison attack was the result of a Syrian airstrike hitting a “terrorist warehouse” full of “toxic substances.”

“One more thing,” Medvedev’s statement concluded. “This military action is a clear indication of the US President’s extreme dependency on the opinion of the Washington establishment, the one that the new president strongly criticized 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.”

Read the Russian Prime Minister’s full statement below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK