×

Kremlin says Syria strikes do significant damage to US-Russia ties

American military action against a Syria-government airfield late Thursday will do significant damage to relations between Russia and the U.S., according to the Kremlin quoted by the Interfax news agency.

The missiles targeted the Shayrat Airfield near Homs, and were in response to a chemical weapons attack on Tuesday. Officially announcing the strike, President Donald Trump said that the targeted airfield had launched the chemical attack on a rebel-held area, and he called on other nations to oppose Syria's embattled leader.

Sasha Mordovets | Getty Images Europe | Getty Images

The Russian response on Friday morning claimed that the strikes violated international law. The Russian news agency Interfax reported comments from the Kremlin which said the strikes had happened under a "far-fetched pretext".

A quote from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that President Vladimir Putin believed the U.S. attacks on Syria showed aggression against a sovereign state. Further comments from Peskov indicated that Putin sees the U.S. strikes on Syria as an attempt to divert the international community's attention from civilian casualties in Iraq.

"President Putin considers the U.S. strikes against Syria an act of aggression against a sovereign country violating the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that," the Russian Tass news agency reported Peskov as saying.

Meanwhile later on Friday morning, the Russian Foreign ministry called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to discuss the aftermath of U.S. missile strike, according to Russian news agencies. It also suspended a Syria air safety agreement with the States and said the "thoughtless" attack was intended as a show of force against a country engaged in fighting terrorism.

The ministry claimed that it was obvious the missile launch had been prepared before Tuesday's alleged chemical attack. Adding to these comments, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he would demand an explanation from the U.S. on the strikes and said they reminded him of the Western attack on Iraq in 2003, which were condemned by the UN as they did not conform to its charter.

"I hope this provocation will not lead to irreparable damage (to U.S.-Russian ties)," Lavrov
told a news conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, according to Reuters.

Other voices from inside the Kremlin on Friday confirmed that no Russians had been injured in the U.S. strike on the Shayrat Airfield. Leonid Slutsky, a Russian politician and the deputy of the State Duma, said that the strike undermined in the the most serious way the opportunity for anti-terrorism cooperation with Russia and ruined efforts to achieve a truce, according to Interfax.

He also said the attack would lead to further escalation in Syria and would negatively affect Russian-U.S. dialogue in general.

—CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld and Reuters contributed to this report.