Russian Federation says West only interested in overthrowing Assad

Russia's US ambassador warns of consequences for Syria strikes

But clearly, they are interested in this idea that the USA was hitting both military and civilian targets, suggesting that Moscow may help Damascus beef up its air defenses for providing these S-300 surface air missile systems to Syria in the coming future.

Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Pierce, dismissed Konashenkov's claim as "a blatant lie".

Haley, who said she would be heading to Washington for meetings later Friday, added that the National Security Council has been cautious and methodical about a decision to retaliate over the attack on the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria, which left at least 49 dead.

A fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is expected to head to Douma, the site of the suspected attack.

US allies have offered strong words of support for Washington but no clear military plans have yet emerged. The medics said none of the patients were hurt by chemicals.

Konashenkov said that "powerful pressure from London was exerted on representatives of the so-called White Helmets to quickly stage the premeditated provocation". It was not immediately clear if Russian-supplied interceptors were activated. "It's some of the worst piece of fake news we've yet seen from the Russian Federation propaganda machine".

Slovenia's Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said in a statement to the official STA news agency that "due to the Syria crisis", French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian cancelled his planned visit to Slovenia on Friday and Saturday.

He did not elaborate or name the state. A Western official told CNN that it is not conclusive, but officials suspect the substance used in the attack was a mixture of chlorine, sarin and possibly other chemicals.

The Kremlin dismissed claims that Russian Federation was impeding access as "groundless", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow was in favour of "an impartial investigation".

Looking ahead, Delattre said France, Britain and the United States will soon be presenting the Security Council with a new draft resolution aimed at achieving a lasting solution to the Syrian conflict that addresses political, chemical and humanitarian issues. The Kremlin readout said that Putin warned against rushing to blame the Syrian government before conducting a "thorough and objective probe".

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Last April, when U.S. warships in the Mediterranean fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, Russian forces were warned in advance and pulled out of the target area, which was rapidly repaired. Putin and Macron instructed their foreign and defense ministers to maintain close contact to "de-escalate the situation", the Kremlin said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who briefed the council before the vote, stressed again "the need to avoid the situation from spiraling out of control" and for a political solution.

The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to a confrontation with Russian Federation hung over the Middle East but there was no clear sign that a US-led attack was imminent.

Meanwhile, Putin's inner circle of senior officials and allied oligarchs has seen their wealth drop by billions of dollars over the past week since the latest round of U.S. sanctions.

And we assumed Vladimir Putin was similarly busy meddling in other people's countries, trying to keep the economy going and preparing for the World Cup to commit to a conflict he realistically couldn't win without it going nuclear.

Early Saturday morning local time, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that more than 100 missiles were fired by the US -led coalition retaliating against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's suspected use of chemical weapons. Moscow alleged soon after the suspected April 7 attack that the images of the victims in Douma were fakes. The ministry additionally pointed to previous alleged use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops.

Lavrov spoke to reporters in Moscow on Friday.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated a strong warning to the West against military action in Syria, saying any such "adventures" in Syria would increase flows of refugees into Europe. "The footage that was shown was clearly staged", he added, according to Bloomberg.

Russian Federation supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has military personnel in Syria, creating a risk of armed confrontation between Washington and Moscow surrounding the country's long running civil war. Syria's civil war, which began as a popular uprising against Assad, is now in its eighth year. Both the Russian military and the Syrian government said they would facilitate the mission and ensure the inspectors' security.

"According to preliminary information, there were no victims among peaceful civilians and the Syrian military", senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing in Moscow.

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