Russian Federation says the western strikes on Syria are 'unacceptable and lawless'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian officials from President Vladimir Putin on down condemned the strike as an act of aggression against a sovereign state carried out on the pretext of staged chemical attack.

Lavrov didn't specify which country he believes staged the attack, but Russia's defense ministry spokesman blamed the United Kingdom. "If there is a strike by the Americans, then ... the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired", he said in Arabic. Syria's civil war, which began as a popular uprising against Assad, is now in its eighth year.

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) went to Syria last week to inspect the Douma site but have yet to gain access to the town, which is now under government control after the rebels withdrew.

Since taking office a year ago, Trump has tried to build stronger ties with Putin.

"Insulting the President of Russian Federation is unacceptable and inadmissible", he added.

From the White House, there is still hope that Russian Federation will change its posture, and Trump's informal invitation for an eventual meeting with Putin hasn't been rescinded.

"This is grotesque", Pierce said of the Russian statement as she left an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by Russia on US threatened military action in response to the alleged attack.

Meanwhile, leaders from the U.S., France and Britain have said the Syrian government was responsible. Our allies know who did this.

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"The president has a dilemma", said this official. The hits on several military bases can not, after all, change the facts on the ground-the capture of Eastern Ghouta by al-Assad's troops. "The desire for a meeting still stands, as the president believes a better relationship with Russian Federation is in our mutual interest". The ministry also pointed at previous use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops. The Russian military said its chemical experts visited Douma shortly after the alleged attack and found no trace of chemical agents in ground samples.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said President Donald Trump "has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria". Invited into Syria by the Assad-regime, Russian Federation sees itself as a rightful protector of Syria's sovereign rights.

In his first days in his job, Bolton has quickly assumed the role of "quarterbacking" the policy part of Syria strategy. He was speaking a day after French President Emmanuel Macron said France had proof there was a chemical attack - also without revealing what that evidence was.

Bolton and the other participants were surprised when Vice President Mike Pence showed up unannounced and took over a Principals' Committee meeting on Syria on Monday afternoon.

The White House says it is continuing to assess intelligence and talk to its allies on how to respond.

Nevertheless, some national security aides took Pence's unexpected appearance as an indication that he feels a needs to provide a steadying influence as Bolton takes the helm and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been marginalized to some extent.

But Harlem Desir, who talks about media freedom for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said Borodin's death was "of serious concern".

"What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?"

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