President Donald Trump warned Russia Wednesday to brace for American engagement in Syria after a suspected chemical attack killed dozens of people.
"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" Trump said on Twitter.
"You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" he added, referring to Syria's Bashar al-Assad.
The comments followed a warning from Moscow that a risk of a direct Russia-U.S. military clash in Syria “is higher than before”, with a Russian envoy saying that U.S. missiles flying over the war-ravaged country would be shot down.
In a second tweet, Trump said the U.S.-Russian relationship "is worse now than it has ever been".
"There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?" Trump said.
On Monday, the American president vowed to take action within two days following a suspected chemical attack in Syria's Douma, saying the public would "probably" be made aware of any retaliation "after the fact."
'Pay a price'
Trump said anyone responsible for the attack, including Russia, will "pay a price," and has cancelled a planned trip to Latin America to oversee the U.S. response.
"If it’s the Russians, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out,” he said.
The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Assad regime for the attack outside of Damascus, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.
Russia on Tuesday vetoed a UN Security Council draft text that would have established a new expert body to determine culpability for a suspected chemical attack in Syria.
The U.S. draft resolution had the overwhelming support of the council with 12 members of the 15-member council voting in favor, and only two -- Russia and Bolivia -- voting against. China abstained.
Tuesday's veto is Russia's twelfth of council resolutions seeking to hold the Assad regime accountable for rights violations. Six of those resolutions would have condemned the regime for chemical weapons attacks.
Trump has been engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity, calling his French and British counterparts to discuss the response to the alleged chemical attack, and discussing the matter in person with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the White House on Tuesday.
Trump and al-Thani "discussed Iranian and Russian malign influence, including the role Iran and Russia play to enable the Assad regime’s atrocities; the threat Iran and Russia pose to regional stability; and ways to increase cooperation between the United States and Qatar on these issues," the White House said.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Copyright Andolu Ajansi