Russian Federation closes communication channels with the United States in Syria

08 April, 2017, 07:22 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Russian PM says US Syria strikes ‘one step away’ from clashing with Russia

Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the USA military wants to continue to talk to Russian Federation.

Senior U.S. military officials told The Associated Press on Friday that the U.S. and Russian Federation will maintain the hotline.

Russia's Foreign Ministry announced on Friday it was suspending a communications channel between itself and the United States which helps prevent midair collisions between the two nations' aircraft in Syria.

To protect pilots, Moscow and Washington opened a so-called "deconfliction line" after Russian Federation began its bombing campaign in September 2015.

The U.S. says a sarin-like nerve agent was used.

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US officials accused Russian Federation of failing to ensure Syrian President Bashar Assad's commitment to a 2013 deal for the destruction of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal. The hotline's primary intent is to ensure Russian planes conducting combat missions in Syria's skies don't stumble into an accident or confrontation with aircraft flown by the US -led coalition fighting an Islamic State insurgency in the north of the country. The Russians said they would. Washington says Syrian government forces carried out a poison gas attack in northern Syria this week that killed at least 70 people.

Satellite imagery suggests the Shayrat air base that was struck by dozens of US missiles is home to Russian special forces and military helicopters, part of the Kremlin's effort to help the Syrian government fight Islamic State and other militant groups.

"President Putin views the US strikes on Syria as aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of global law and on a made-up up pretext", said a Kremlin statement.

Trump, speaking from Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida, said the strikes were "in the vital national security interest" of the U.S. "This step by Washington will inflict major damage on U.S. -Russia ties". The U.S. missile strike could make it all but impossible to improve relations. In the aftermath of the attack, which Syria said killed at least seven people, Russian Federation announced it would suspend its cooperation in the information-sharing campaign, the first time the line has been severed.

Russian Federation also has important military facilities in Syria that could be put at risk if Assad is removed from power, a goal of Western powers that had recently been put on the back burner because of the focus on fighting Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq. Russian Federation still has several dozen warplanes and batteries of air defense missiles at its base near Latakia, Syria.

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