Donald Trump used Twitter on Wednesday to warn that a missile attack on Syria is imminent, hours after the Kremlin vowed to shoot down any rockets fired at the Assad regime in retaliation for last week’s poison gas atrocity in the Damascus suburb of Douma.
The president 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!’
Trump followed up with a second Twitter blast, claiming America’s rapport with Moscow has never been worse.
‘Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War,’ he tweeted. ‘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?’
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, said the U.S. military was ready to provide Trump with military options but asked if he had seen enough evidence to blame Assad, Mattis said: ‘We’re still working on this.’
Interfax reported in the late morning that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov scoffed at Trump’s online brushback pitch.
‘We do not participate in Twitter diplomacy,’ Peskov said. ‘We support serious approaches. We continue to believe that it is important not to take steps that could harm an already fragile situation.’
The Russian military had just announced a deployment of troops to Douma. Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces said military police would be there by Thursday to ensure ‘security’ of the town.
Poznikhir said 41,213 people, including 3,354 rebels and 8,642 members of their families, have left Douma with his military’s assistance.
The Russian military claimed Wednesday that samples taken from the site of the chemical attack in Douma did not contain any poisonous substances.
Russian ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said the attack was a ‘staged event’ faked by provocateurs working with the White Helmets, a rescue and aid first-responder group whose work was chronicled in an Oscar-winning documentary film.
Separately, Trump suggested Wednesday that Moscow doesn’t want to be wrapped up in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, which has been scouring Washington and New York for evidence that the president’s 2016 campaign colluded with the Kremlin to help him win.
‘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,’ Trump wrote, adding that there is ‘No Collusion, so they go crazy!’
His threats came hours after Moscow’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, said any U.S. missiles fired at Syria would be shot down by Russia and the launch sites targeted. In response to Trump’s tweet, Russia’s foreign ministry said ‘smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not legal government.’
The Russian foreign ministry also claimed U.S. missiles would destroy ‘all evidence’ of a suspected chemical weapons attack.
Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova added: ‘Or is it the original idea to use the smart missiles to sweep the traces of the provocation under the rug?’ so inspectors would have nothing to inspect.
Both the Syrian government and Russia deny the attack ever took place. The top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader said on Wednesday that Tehran would support Damascus against any foreign aggression.