Russia says U.S. missile strike on Syria causes 'significant damage' to Russian-American relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a press conference
(Image credit: Natalia Kolesnikova/Getty Images)

President Trump's decision to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase early Friday "causes significant damage to Russian-American relations, which were already in a deplorable state," said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that Putin sees the airstrikes as a violation of international law.

The missile launch came in response to a chemical attack on Tuesday that killed more than 70 people in Idlib. The U.S. has blamed the attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the Syrian government denies using chemical weapons against its own people, and Russia, one of Syria's allies, backs up that claim.

On Friday morning, Russia condemned the U.S. missile attack and also said it was suspending a deal with the U.S. originally meant to prevent mid-air collisions between U.S. and Russian aircraft flying over Syria.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

With Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expected to make his first state visit to Moscow next week, the growing tension between Russia and the U.S. could "crush remaining hopes in the Kremlin Donald Trump's presidency could offer a chance to improve bilateral relations," the Financial Times reports. Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of Parliament, said Russia may even consider suspending all military contacts with the U.S.

"There had been the hope that we will have it easy with Trump, but nothing will be easy, it will be very hard," Yelena Suponina, adviser to the director of the think tank Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, said on state TV. "It turns out that there will be a lot of unpredictability. It is very, very dangerous."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a writer and former deputy editor of The Week Digital. Originally from the American Midwest, she completed a degree in journalism at Indiana University Bloomington before relocating to New York City, where she pursued a career in media. After joining The Week as an intern in 2010, she served as the title’s audience development manager, senior editor and deputy editor, as well as a regular guest on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast. Her writing has featured in other publications including Popular Science, Fast Company, Fortune, and Self magazine, and she loves covering science and climate-related issues.