Russian Federation warns U.S. launching air strikes could spark a war

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban

Trump on Friday night announced that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for alleged chemical weapons use and to prevent him from doing it again.

Senior Russian figures, including the head of the military, have warned that U.S. missiles will be shot down and their launch sites targeted if Russian personnel come under threat. "It would provoke a retaliation operation by government forces and the White Helmets were to use it to stage a provocation with an alleged use of chemical weapons", he said.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said no decision had been taken on military action and stressed the importance of carefully assessing all the implications.

Russian Federation proposed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution on Saturday, seen by Reuters, that would condemn "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the USA and its allies in violation of global law and the U.N. Charter".

Meanwhile, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says experts are travelling to Syria and will start investigations on Saturday.

In the near term, the military strike appeared to ramp up a searing war of words between Washington and Moscow, which regarded the action as a attack on Russian Federation itself.

Western officials believe chlorine was used in Saturday's attack on Douma, the main city in the longtime rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta, where the British government now estimates 75 people were killed.

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Moscow, he said, has "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication". "The attack is the blatant violation of worldwide laws, as well as ignoring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria", Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said according to Iranian state media.

There have been calls from opposition parties and some Conservative MPs for Parliament to have a vote beforehand.

Russian Federation today accused the West of having the sole aim in Syria of overthrowing the government as it urged US, French and British leaders to refrain from military action. "It will just take more lives and spawn the war elsewhere".

The Kremlin said Mr Putin warned against rushing to blame the Syrian government before conducting a "thorough and objective probe". "We are open for those contacts, they help to understand each other better", Lavrov said. A French frigate, UK Royal Navy submarines laden with cruise missiles and the U.S.S Donald Cook, an American destroyer equipped with Tomahawk land attack missiles, have all moved into range of Syria's sun-bleached coast. An attack, the president said "could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

"I hope hot heads will cool down and that will be it", he told reporters.

Mattis appealed at the meeting for more time to gather evidence to prove the Assad regime was responsible for the attack. She also told Russian Federation if it had done its job then Assad wouldn't have these weapons. But the administration appeared determined to deliver on the president's threat to punish the use of poison gas.

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