Russian Federation calls Syrian 'chemical attack' staged

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The chairman of the worldwide affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, said the strikes were a violation of worldwide law and probably created to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work.

Speaking to United States media on Sunday, Nikki Haley said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "got reckless" and used chemical weapons as he "knew that Russian Federation had its back".

None of the air strikes hit zones where Russian air defence systems protect the Russian bases of Tartus and Hmeimim, Russian news agencies cited the Ministry of Defence as saying.

The Russian leader warned against "ill-considered and unsafe actions ... that would have consequences beyond conjecture".

During his address, President Trump said USA forces were prepared to sustain this response "until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents" and issued a direct message to Russian Federation and Iran which he said are "most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime".

None of the missiles fired by the United States and its allies were routed through the Russian air defense zone in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday, after multinational forces hammered select targets in Syria. There is no evidence for now that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, Azimov said.

"Assad's recent attack - and today's response - are the direct result of Russia's failure to keep that promise", Trump said.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis struck a cautious note, telling lawmakers that the need to "stop the murder of innocent people" had to be weighed up against the risk of things "escalating out of control".

Russia's Ministry of Defense says the airstrikes, which began overnight around 2am Irish time, were not in retaliation to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, which killed at least 12 people, including children.

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There is a heightened "danger of escalation" because of the Russian military presence in Syria, Nebenzia said after a private meeting of the UN Security Council in NY.

The Kremlin had warned Washington that Russian Federation would fend off any strike that jeopardized its servicemen in Syria, and the West respected the red line by giving advance notice of Saturday's attack, just as it did a year ago when it struck a Syrian air base.

"Russia had a choice - either to risk and respond militarily, which is very risky because you can lose, or what is happening now".

"Hopefully, someday we'll get along with Russian Federation, and maybe even Iran - but maybe not". "We are not defending al-Assad, but he is the only legitimate leader of his country", he said.

Why is the West considering military action?

The U.N. Security Council was to meet again Friday, at Russia's request, to try to defuse the standoff, as U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to back away from imminent action, days after warning Russian Federation to "get ready" for missile strikes.

He vacillated the next day after being criticized for telegraphing war plans and insisted that no final decision had been made.

Anatoly Antonov attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia March 5, 2015.

China said it was "opposed to the use of force" following US-led airstrikes against Syria and called for a "return to the framework of global law".