"Apparently, the purpose of this illegal action was the demonstration of force and intimidation, and not the destruction of chemical weapons, whose presence in Syria no one has yet proven," Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control (DNAC) head Mikhail Uliyanov said at a chemical weapons watchdog session.
On April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat. US President Donald Trump said that the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria's Idlib province on April 4, which resulted in the death of over 80 people, an incident which Washington blames on the Syrian government.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on April 5 that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 6 that groundless accusations in the chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib were unacceptable before the investigation into the matter had been carried out while Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday criticized the US missile attack as a violation of the international law.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the US missile strike against the Syrian airfield as a strategic mistake.
After the missile attack, the Russian Defense Ministry suspended a point-to-point communications link with the US military under the memorandum of understanding on de-confliction in Syria.
The ministry said the Russian air group in Syria was protected by S-400 and Pantsir-S1 air defense systems on a round-the-clock basis.
In an exclusive interview with Fox Business on April 12, US President Donald Trump blamed the current situation in Syria on Moscow's support for country's Assad, calling the Syrian leader "an animal."