The Russian Foreign Ministry has called on the US and Iran to exercise "maximum restraint' in the Persian Gulf region and not fall for provocations.
"Moscow has always considered stability and security in the Persian Gulf as one of the key factors that affect the situation in the context of an entire region. We urge the sides to exercise maximum restraint and caution, not to fall for provocations and aggressive rhetoric, and to act strictly in accordance with international norms and rules", the ministry's spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman added that the Kremlin understands the criticism that Tehran expressed of the US’ "provocative manoeuvres", which were conducted on 15 April near Iran’s maritime borders.
The situation in the region started escalating in the wake of US military drills in the Persian Gulf, despite objections from the Islamic Republic. The US Navy later complained that its military vessels were "harassed" by Iranian gunboats that came in close proximity to warships and crossed their bows and sterns.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
Responding to the incident, US President Donald Trump announced that he had instructed the Navy to "shoot down and destroy" any Iranian vessel that harasses American warships. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Hyten later praised the announcement, saying that the military can "translate [it] into the rules of engagement".
Iran lashed out at the POTUS' threat, calling on Washington to focus on fighting the coronavirus outbreak at home rather than "bully" nations thousands of miles away.