- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday condemned the U.S. missile strikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, calling it a violation of international law.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to news reports, said Mr. Putin “considers the American strikes against Syria an aggression against a sovereign government in violations of the norms of international law, and under a far-fetched pretext.”

“This step by Washington is causing significant damage to Russian-American relations, which are already in a deplorable state,” he said.

The response came hours after Mr. Trump told reporters he authorized the strike in response to a chemical weapons attack that the White House has said was carried out by Mr. Assad.

“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” Mr. Trump said. “There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, meanwhile, said that Russia either was complicit or “simply” incompetent in failing to follow through on the commitments it made in a 2013 agreement struck with the Obama administration to secure Syria’s chemical weapons.

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