By Jack Stubbs and Laila Bassam
MOSCOW/DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.
In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Putin and Rouhani agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement.
“Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the Kremlin statement said.
Meanwhile, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” program that the United States would announce new economic sanctions on Monday aimed at companies “that were dealing with equipment” related to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged chemical weapons use.
On Saturday, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7.
(For a graphic detailing air strikes on Syria click https://tmsnrt.rs/2EKgAMN)
The Western countries blame Assad for the Douma attack that killed dozens of people. The Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied involvement in any such attack.
The bombings marked the biggest intervention by Western countries against Assad and ally Russia.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that he had convinced Trump, who has previously said he wanted to take U.S. forces out of Syria, to stay for “the long term.”
The United States, France and Britain have said the missile strikes were limited to Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and not aimed at toppling Assad or intervening in the civil war. Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news that he had convinced Trump to focus on the chemical weapons sites.
‘HARD FOR US, BUT WILL DO MORE DAMAGE TO THE USA’
Responding to Haley’s remarks about the plans for new sanctions, Evgeny Serebrennikov, deputy head of the defense committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said Moscow was ready for the penalties, according to RIA news agency.
“They are hard for us, but will do more damage to the USA and Europe,” RIA quoted Serebrennikov as saying…