Russian President Vladimir Putin considers the US cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airbase an "act of aggression" against a sovereign state, the Kremlin said. In its initial reaction on the strikes, Russia said Washington's abrupt intervention is a violation of international regulations.

US forces launched about 60 Tomahawk missiles on Friday, 7 April, targeting a key Syrian airfield that Washington suspects was used by President Bashar al-Assad's forces to launch the recent chemical weapons attack.

President Donald Trump authorised the missile strikes in a blunt reciprocation to the Syrian regime's chemical attack. The US believes the sarin gas attack, amounting to a war crime, was carried out by the Syrian regime but Moscow believes anti-Assad rebels were behind it.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Washington's onslaught had dealt a "significant damage to the US-Russia ties, which are already in a deplorable state".

"President [Vladimir] Putin regards the US attacks on Syria as an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that," added the presidential spokesman.

Russia, a staunch supporter of the Syrian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad, is also expected to call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council following the strikes.

Peskov went on to add that Putin sees the strikes as a tactic to shift the focus from civilian casualties in Iraq.

Vladimir Putin
Kremlin says US strikes will worsen US-Russia ties Alexei Druzhinin/Reuters