MOSCOW — Russia reacted strongly to America’s missile strike on Syria early Friday, calling it an “act of aggression” and suspending an agreement that prevents direct conflict between U.S. and Russia forces in the region.
The launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles was an “egregious and obvious violation of international law that cannot be justified,” its foreign ministry said in a statement.
It called for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting “to discuss” the response.
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President Vladimir Putin also believes the response will further harm relations between Washington and Moscow, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told local news agencies.
Russia — the main ally of Syria’s President Bashar Assad — announced the suspension of the so-called "deconfliction" agreement that prevents U.S. fighter jets coming into conflict with Russian counterparts in the region.
A defense ministry spokesman took a swipe at the U.S. action. Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said "the combat efficiency of the U.S. strike was very low."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was due to travel to Moscow next week for talks.
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Leonid Slutsky, head of Russia's State Duma International Affairs Committee, said the meeting would go ahead as planned. "I don't think this will impact Tillerson's visit, we need to restore dialogue,” he said, according to Interfax.
“We should welcome Tillerson, exchange views and try and talk sense into Washington. That's much better than hiding behind walls."
Alastair Jamieson reported from London