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Russia spent Friday morning responding to the U.S.attack on Syria. Above, Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

Russia responds to Trump ordering attacks on Syrian airfield

WT24 Desk

The U.S. attacking Syrian government targets will “undercut” efforts to fight terrorism during the country’s long-running civil war, according to a Russian lawmaker, according to The Daily News

Countries around the world reacted to the unilateral attack on the Bashar Assad regime in retaliation for its alleged role in chemical attacks that killed dozens of civilians.

However, observers waited for how Moscow, one of many parties entwined in the Syrian conflict and the strongest ally of the Syrian government, would respond.

Early reaction came from Russian senator Viktor Ozerov, head of a committee on defense, telling state-run RIA Novosti that the bombings could “undercut” the fight against groups such as ISIS.

He said Russia will call for an urgent UN meeting.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said early Friday that it would soon release a statement on the attacks. Russian representatives had previously warned Thursday that an attack would lead to “negative consequences.”

 “We have to think about negative consequences, negative consequences, and all the responsibility if military action occurred will be on shoulders of those who initiated such doubtful and tragic enterprise,” Russian UN envoy Vladimir Safronkov said.

“Look at Iraq, look at Libya.”

Questions remained early Friday about to what extent any Russian forces or assets were in harm’s way when more than 50 Tomahawk missiles were launched at a Syrian airfield.

Russian soldiers joined those fighting for the Assad regime in September 2015 with the goal of fighting the Islamic State, though have been accused of targeting other rebel groups.

A statement from the Pentagon Thursday night said that “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line.” “U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or personnel located at the airfield.”

However, the U.S. also criticized Russia explicitly as it launched its missiles. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Russia had “failed in its responsibility” to uphold a 2013 deal meant to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapon stockpile.

So either Russia has been complicit, or Russia has been simply incompetent on its ability to deliver,” Tillerson said, though he also said, “Our target in this attack was not Russia.”

Tillerson, who previously did business with the Russian government as head of Exxon Mobil, is set to visit Moscow next week.

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