After the United States, France, and Britain launched airstrikes over the weekend, the Russians threatened to retaliate. There would be “consequences,” the Russians said. What those consequences are remains to be seen, but some fear that the strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities may escalate into a global conflict as Russia ships more resources to the area.
Russia has propped-up the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for years. Most of Assad’s military capabilities exist becasue of Russia’s interest in the region. Yet Assad denies that the strike ever happened.
The Russians aren’t going that far. They claim they shot down 71 of the missiles fired at Syria over the weekend.
Statement by the Ambassador Antonov on the strikes on #Syria:
A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.
All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris. pic.twitter.com/QEmWEffUzx
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) April 14, 2018
They also are talking about retaliation. Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. tweeted that his country was being “threatened.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, not known for holding back, called the coalition airstrike an “act of aggression.” While his staff are calling for payback, he has called for an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Saturday.
“The Associated Press,” CNBC writes, “citing a Russian media outlet, quoted a top Russian official as likening Trump to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, said Trump ‘can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time — because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union’.”
This name calling is happening on both sides, though President Trump is taking a more conciliatory tone. He hasn’t blamed Putin himself for the gas attacks, but rather questions Putin’s support of the Syrian regime. “What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” Trump asked in his press conference about the airstrikes.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the war may spread beyond focused airstrikes and bellicose rhetoric. Russia is moving more materials to the region.
“Two Russian warships laden with military vehicles have been spotted en route to Syria after Friday’s US-led airstrikes obliterated three suspected chemical weapons sites,” The Daily Mail writes.
“An Alligator-landing ship was pictured cruising down The Bosphorus on Sunday as the world awaits Vladimir Putin’s response to this week’s coordinated military action against Syria.”
“The vessel was spotted on its way to the Russian naval base at Tartus on the north Syrian coast. On its fourth deployment of Russian military equipment to the war-torn country the ship was seen laden with tanks, trucks, ambulances and an IED radar.”
“A yellow RoRo Alexandr Tkachenko was also pictured heading for Tartus carrying high-speed patrol boats, a temporary bridge structure and several trucks.”