Report: Russia’s Putin sees U.S. airstrikes on Syria as act of a - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Report: Russia’s Putin sees U.S. airstrikes on Syria as act of aggression

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By: ALASTAIR JAMIESON

(NBC) - Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the U.S. airstrike on Syria's facilities is an act of aggression that further harms relations with Washington, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told local news agencies Friday.

U.S. warships launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield overnight in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that Washington has blamed on Syria's government.

"President Putin considers the U.S. strikes against Syria an aggression against a sovereign country violating the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that," Peskov said, according to TASS and others.

"Putin also sees the strikes on Syria by the U.S. as an attempt to divert the attention of the international community from numerous civilian casualties in Iraq," Peskov said.

"Washington's move impairs the Russian-US relations, which are in a deplorable state," Peskov said.

Peskov was also quoted as saying that Russia did not believe that Syria possessed chemical weapons and that U.S. airstrikes would create a serious obstacle to forming an international coalition against terrorism — an idea that Putin has pushed.

Viktor Ozerov, the head of the upper house of the Russian parliament's defense and security committee, said Russia would now call for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the matter, according to the RIA news agency.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to travel to Moscow for talks next week.

Leonid Slutsky, head of Russia's State Duma International Affairs Committee, said the meeting would go ahead as planned. "I don't think this will impact Tillerson's visit, we need to restore dialogue," he said, according to Interfax. "We should welcome Tillerson, exchange views and try and talk sense into Washington. That's much better than hiding behind walls."

For the latest details on the Syrian missile strike as they develop, visit the KWWL and NBC News web pages.

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