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The U.S.S. Donald Cook left a port in Cyprus following reports of a poison gas attack in Syria over the weekend, prompting threats from Russia that it would shoot down any U.S. missiles and target their launch sites should President Donald Trump order military action. (Photo: Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr/cc)

Elevating Escalation Fears, Russia Warns It Will Respond to Attack on Syria by Targeting 'Sources' of US Missiles

"If there is a strike by the Americans, then we refer to the statements of President Putin and the chief of staff that the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired," says ambassador

Julia Conley

As President Donald Trump warned on Twitter that U.S. missiles "will be coming" in the wake of a suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma, Syria, Russian officials warned that any military action by the U.S. and its allies would be met with an aggressive response—targeting any U.S. missiles as well as their launch sites.

"If there is a strike by the Americans, then we refer to the statements of President Putin and the chief of staff that the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired," Alexander Zasypkin, Russia's ambassador to Lebanon, said Wednesday.

Though international investigators have not completed an investigation into the suspected poison gas attack that reportedly killed more than 45 people on Saturday, Trump swiftly placed the blame on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, joining leaders from countries including the U.K. and France who have called for "strong" action against Syria.

Zasypkin's comments came two days after the U.S.S. Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, left a port in Cyprus, carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles—the same missiles Trump launched into Syria last April after another chemical attack.

Another Russian official, Vladimir Shamanov, said only that a nuclear strike as retaliation by Russia was "unlikely," while the country's ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, warned U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley, that U.S. military action could place all three countries and the entire Middle East "on the threshold of some very sad and serious events."

As Russia's plans for retaliation came into view, with uncertainty regarding how severe its actions could be, some issued warnings of the repercussions of Trump's potential military action.

Experts on Russia's powerful air defenses in Syria told Business Insider that the U.S. would not easily defeat the Russian arsenal.

"If Russia were to retaliate against a US Navy ship with its own heavy navy presence in the region, the escalation would most likely resemble war between the two countries," wrote Alex Lockie at Business Insider.


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