Russia is suspending a 2015 agreement aimed at avoiding mid-air collisions in the Syrian airspace after US launched missile strikes against the Syrian Shayrat army airbase since yesterday.
“The Russian side is halting the effect of the memorandum for prevention of incidents and ensuring safety of air flights during operations in Syria which was agreed with the US,” said a Friday statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Reuters reported.
According to the agreement signed in 2015, both US and Russia had agreed to exchange information on their flights in Syria where both the sides are involved in separate military missions.
Russian defense ministry has also said that it would beef up Syrian defences following US’ Tomahawk missile attacks.
The US airstrikes since Thursday involved use of 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from US warships deployed to the Mediterranean.
US ordered the attack after accusations of Syria carrying out chemical bomb attacks on Tuesday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry statement further said, “Obviously, the cruise missile attack was prepared beforehand. Any expert can tell that the decision to strike was made in Washington before the events in Idlib, which were used as a pretext for a demonstration,” Reuters reported.
It also slammed the presence of US troops on Syrian soil, which comes without the Syrian government’s approval, as “a gross, obvious and unwarranted violation of international law.”
“If before it was due to the task of combating terrorism, now there is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. US Actions taken today further destroy the Russian-American relations,” the statement read.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting of his security council later on Friday to discuss the US missile strikes on Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said the attack reminded him of Western attack on Iraq in 2003, which had forgone United Nations approval, adding Moscow would demand explanation from Washington on the assault.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson charged Thursday that Russia was either complicit or incompetent in its role overseeing Syria’s supposed removal of chemical weapons, Fox News reported Thursday.
“Clearly Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment,” Tillerson said. “Either Russia has been complicit or simply incompetent on delivering its end of that agreement.