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Trump promises missiles ‘will be coming’ to Syria and Russia can’t stop them

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia vetoed a U.S.-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution on Tuesday that would have set up an investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria following the alleged toxic gas attack in Douma. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump warned that missile strikes against Syria were coming, and there was nothing that Russia could do to stop it. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump warned that missile strikes against Syria were coming, and there was nothing that Russia could do to stop it.

Trump was responding to a chemical attack against civilians last weekend in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region in Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has used chemical weapons against civilians on multiple other occasions, is believed to be behind the attack.

On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to vote on a proposed inquiry into who was behind the attack. Russia, a Security Council member and one of Assad’s few allies, used its veto to defeat the measure.

Haley slammed Russia’s decision to use its veto.

"History will record that on this day, Russia chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people,” she said. "Russia has trashed the credibility of the council.”

What did Trump's tweets say?

At 6:57 a.m. ET, 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!"

40 minutes later, at 7:37 a.m. ET, Trump continued his rant: "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?"

In an earlier tweet at 6:38 a.m. ET, while criticizing “Fake News” coverage, Trump had said that despite reports to the contrary, the White House was being “[v]ery calm and calculated with a big focus on open and fair trade with China, the coming North Korea meeting and, of course, the vicious gas attack in Syria.”

What have the Russians said?

Before Trump tweeted, Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin had warned the U.S. on a Hezbollah-owned TV station that retaliation would be swift: "If there is a strike by the Americans, then we refer to the statements of President [Vladimir] Putin and the chief of staff that the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired."

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, posted on Facebook, "Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legal government that has been fighting international terrorism for several years on its territory.”

Russia and the Assad regime have repeatedly claimed to be targeting “terrorists” while attacking both Syrian rebel groups and civilians.

In 2013, a sarin gas attack on Ghouta was reported to have killed 1,400 people. After that incident, Assad publicly agreed to destroy his chemical weapons. Despite Assad’s promises, Reuters reported in February that several people in Ghouta were suffering from “symptoms consistent with chlorine gas exposure.”

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