Putin calls US-led strikes on Syria ‘aggression’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on attending the military parade during the Navy Day celebration in St.Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, July 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Russia on Saturday said it was calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the coordinated missile strikes against Syria.

President Vladimir Putin said that the military action launched by the US, in cooperation with Britain and France, was “an act of aggression” against a sovereign state and strongly condemned the act.

Warning that the strikes will exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and provoke a new wave of refugees from the country and the region as a whole, Putin said the current escalation will have a devastating impact on the whole system of international relations.

Putin said Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine gas or other poisonous substances in the area where Syrian government forces are alleged to have launched a chemical weapon attack, namely, in the rebel-held district of Douma near capital Damascus.

The Syrian government has categorically denied the accusation.

Though the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is sending its experts to Syria to investigate, a group of Western countries “cynically” disregarded it and launched a military operation instead of waiting for the outcome of the investigation, Putin said.

The United States, together with Britain and France, on Saturday launched a missile strike on Syria, saying it was in response to the alleged chemical weapon attack.

The Syrian military said the coalition fired some 110 missiles targeting Syrian military sites in Damascus and elsewhere, but most of the missiles were destroyed by the Syrian air defense system.

Story compiled with information from Xinhua News Agency.