Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev complained on Friday that U.S. cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airbase were one step away from clashing with the Russian military.

U.S. officials informed Russian forces ahead of the strikes — intended to punish the Syrian government for what they say was a chemical weapons attack earlier this week — and avoided hitting Russian personnel.

Satellite imagery suggests the Shayrat air base that was struck is home to Russian special forces and military helicopters, part of the Kremlin’s effort to help the Syrian government fight Islamic State and other militant groups.

Medvedev, writing on social media, said the U.S. strikes were illegal and had been “one step away from military clashes with Russia.”


Editor’s note: Here’s the Russian PM’s social media post:

That’s it. The last remaining election fog has lifted. Instead of an overworked statement about a joint fight against the biggest enemy, ISIS (the Islamic State), the Trump administration proved that it will fiercely fight the legitimate Syrian government, in a tough contradiction with international law and without UN approval, in violation of its own procedures stipulating that the Congress must first be notified of any military operation unrelated to aggression against the US. On the verge of a military clash with Russia.

Nobody is overestimating the value of pre-election promises but there must be limits of decency.

Beyond that is absolute mistrust. Which is really sad for our now completely ruined relations. And which is good news for terrorists.

One more thing. This military action is a clear indication of the US President’s extreme dependency on the opinion of the Washington establishment, the one that the new president strongly criticised in his inauguration speech. Soon after his victory, I noted that everything would depend on how soon Trump’s election promises would be broken by the existing power machine. It took only two and a half months.

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