In the wake of an American missile strike on Syria, Russia announced on Thursday that it was suspending an agreement with the U.S. that prevented mid-air collisions over Syria. President Donald Trump ordered the strike in response to a sarin gas attack on Tuesday that killed 26 and injured 107, including many children.
The agreement allowed U.S. forces to share coordinates with Russia in order to avoid unnecessary confrontations in the air. While the U.S. always has radar coverage from Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base, the lack of information sharing could lead to further conflict and deterioration of relations with Russia.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, who has long been an ally to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, said the missile attack was a violation of international law. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that condemned the presence of U.S. troops in Syria without permission of the U.N. Security Council, calling it “unwarranted, obvious and gross.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry stated that in response to the missile strike, it will increase air defense over Syria. It also said that only 23 of the 59 launched missiles hit targets and mocked the apparent lack of effectiveness of the U.S. military.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said that Moscow wants an official explanation regarding the missile strike and considers the action to be aggressive with no real pretext. The White House defended the action as “appropriate” and “necessary.”
Britain immediately supported the U.S. missile strike, calling it a “warning shot” that had to be made.