UK's Boris Johnson cancels Moscow visit over Syria
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 09, 2017,
Apr 09, 2017, 7:59
Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, has dramatically cancelled plans to visit Moscow just hours before he was due to fly amid escalating tensions over Syria, The Telegraph said.
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that Lavrov emphasized that the allegations of chemical weapons used by the Syrian military Tuesday "do not correspond to reality" and called for a "thorough and impartial" investigation into the incident.
No Russian servicemen were known to have been killed in the USA strikes, he added. Gen. Igor Konashenkov. He said reports that the hotline was active were wrong, and that the US military attache in Moscow was called to the ministry to be told that the communications would stop at midnight Saturday.
The U.S. used the "deconfliction line" to warn Russian Federation ahead of time that the strike was coming.
Russia President Vladimir Putin signaled he was ready to risk a clash with the US and abandon hopes for mending ties under President Donald Trump, rather than accept the humiliation of standing by while his ally is bombed.
Russian Federation also has pledged to bolster Syria's air defenses.
Russian aircraft have been conducting a separate air campaign to support the Assad government in the country's blood-soaked civil war, now in its seventh year.
Pressed on whether the Russians were actively participating in the safety calls, including one on Friday, one USA official said conversations were ongoing.
Trump cited the chemical attack as justification for the missile strike on a Syrian air base.
According to reports, 89 people, including 33 children and 18 women, died in a suspected nerve agent attack in the Syrian rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun earlier this week. The U.S. missile strike could make it all but impossible to improve relations.
Mikhail Yemelyanov, a senior member of the lower house of parliament, warned that the US action raised the threat of a direct clash between Russian Federation and the U.S.
Russia has not suspended a military communications channel meant to help USA and Russian forces to avoid inadvertent clashes in Syria, despite a US cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase that has angered Moscow, senior USA officials said on Friday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.
The communications have proved crucial in staving off an worldwide incident in which USA warplanes might inadvertently hit Russian ground forces deployed alongside Syrian government troops, or Russian aircraft might strike US troops aiding Syrian rebels. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russian Federation will quickly "strengthen the Syrian air defense system and increase its efficiency in order to protect Syria's most sensitive infrastructure facilities".