Donald Trump warns Putin his missiles are coming ‘fast and smart’ after Russia vowed to bomb US sites if it strikes Assad
The US President issued the extraordinary threat on Twitter following comments from senior Russian officials that Vladimir Putin’s military would strike US bomb sites in retaliation to American aggression.
Trump tweeted: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
The Republican firebrand then added: “Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War.
“There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?
Responding to Trump’s tweet, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said: “Smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not a legal government.”
The spokeswoman also reportedly said that US “smart missiles” could be an attempt to destroy evidence of an alleged chemical attack on the ground.
What we know so far…
- A chemical attack, using “poisonous chlorine gas” unfolded in the besieged town of Douma on Saturday
- Dozens of people were reportedly killed, with those caught up in the sickening attack suffering “oral foaming, cyanosis, and corneal burns”
- The UN slammed the reported use of chemical weapons, saying it would be an “abhorrent” violation of the law
- The World Health Organisation has confirmed that 500 people showed symptoms of being exposed to “toxic chemicals”
- US President Donald Trump declared on Monday that a forceful response would be made within 24 to 48 hours
- Senior Russian officials warned that Moscow would shoot down US rockets if Washington launched strikes
- Trump tweeted Wednesday that Russia should “get ready” for “smart” missiles
- US warplanes have been spotted on the border
- Theresa May has also vowed to end Syria’s use of chemical weapons
A Syrian government spokesperson called Trump’s threats to attack “reckless” saying that they endangered international peace and security, reports The Associated Press.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Assad forces have cleared airports and fled military bases after Trump’s chilling rocket threats.
Trump later appeared to blame Democrats and the “fake and corrupt Russia investigation” for the “bad blood” with Moscow.
He tweeted: “Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama.”
Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, said Putin would destroy American missiles if Washington carried out a retaliatory strike.
“If there is a strike by the Americans then… the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” he told Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV.
Yevgeny Serebrennikov, deputy chairman of Moscow’s Defence Committee, also said Russia would respond “immediately” to a US attack on Russia’s soldiers in Syria.
Speaking with Sputnik, he said: “As the Defence Ministry has already pointed out, the Russian military bases in Hmeymim and Tartus are under firm protection.
“At the same time, we expect that in the event of US strikes, if any, the lives of our servicemen will not be in danger.
“I think that the United States understands this and will not allow it, because otherwise, Russia’s response will be immediate, as the chief of the Russian General Staff has said.”
A Russian Foreign ministry source says the risk of “direct military confrontation” between Russia and the US in Syria “exists”, reports Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile, RAF bombers were last night on standby to strike Syrian tyrant Bashar Al-Assad.
Major activity was reported at Britain’s Tornado base in Cyprus shortly before civilian planes were said to have been ordered to clear the airspace over Syria by the US.
It came as Britain told the UN that responsibility for the “diabolical” chemical attack lay with “Syria and its backers in Russia and Iran,” and attacked Russia’s attempts to portray itself as the victim.
The Prime Minister rang both the US President and France’s Emmanuel Macron in a frantic round of diplomacy over the suspected chemical attack in Douma.
The White House said Mrs May agreed with Mr Trump that the alleged attack showed Syrian President Assad’s “vicious disregard for human life”.
A statement added: “The President and Prime Minister agreed not to allow the use of chemical weapons to continue.”
Donald Trump and his Pentagon chief General Mattis both cancelled planned trips for the weekend to “oversee the American response to Syria”.
In the early hours of Tuesday, a heavy flight of US-led coalition warplanes were reportedly seen flying over the Iraqi border.
But Russia’s Defence Committee have hit back, saying that they will respond immediately if its military is impacted by a possible US airstrike.
Civilian planes were said to have been ordered to clear the airspace over Syria by the US military as flight radar showed aircraft diverting away.
European air traffic controllers issued a “rapid alert” for airlines in the Eastern Mediterranean over the possibility of air strikes into Syria within the next 72 hours.
The USS Donald Cook missile destroyer was sailing towards Syria as the White House weighed up its options. Turkish media reported “remarkable” activity at an RAF Tornado base in Cyprus.
But sources accused Mrs May of trying to delay Donald Trump – as his deadline for a decision on strikes against the Assad regime edged closer.
A Downing Street spokesperson read out of the same phone call with US President but was markedly more guarded than the White House’s version of events – saying Assad’s guilt had yet to be “confirmed”.
No10 added: “They agreed they would continue working closely together and with international partners to ensure that those responsible were held to account.”
Mrs May held a meeting with Cabinet ministers and security chiefs yesterday and another was scheduled to take place.
One senior Tory said he had been disappointed by the PM’s response – saying “she should be all over this, and leading from the front”.
Last night the UK’s permanent representative to the UN said the use of chemical weapons was an “escalatory act”.
Speaking at a meeting of the Security Council, Karen Pierce also slammed Russia for trying to make a bitter row over the attack a dispute between East and West.
She said: “The responsibility for the cruelty in Syria belongs to Syria and its backers in Russia and Iran.
“The use of chemical weapons is an escalatory and a diabolical act.
“What Russia is trying to do, it strikes me, Mr President, is to turn the debate in this Council away from a discussion of the use of chemical weapons into a dispute between East and West, presenting itself as the victim.”
Donald Trump’s desire for rapid reprisals was complicated by the global chemicals watchdog announcing it was sending a fact-finding team to Douma to probe the alleged poison gas attack, where rebels claimed at least 40 people died on Saturday.
On Monday the US President condemned the “heinous” chemical weapon attack and said he would decide within the next 24 to 48 hours whether to launch a military reprisal.
Military chiefs in the UK were instructed on Monday to draw up options for a joint strike. Eight GR4 Tornado jets based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus could be used.
The Tornados have Storm Shadow missiles which have a range of more than 150 miles – enabling pilots to keep out of the range of Syrian anti-air defences.
Speaking on a visit to Cambridge yesterday, Mrs May once more sidestepped questions over whether Britain would be involved in military action.