Russia says Trump's air strikes only strengthen terrorists like Isis

Mythili Sampathkumar
Russian deputy envoy to the UN Vladimir Safronkov addresses the UN Security Council on Syria

Russia has said Donald Trump's "aggression" in Syria is actually strengthening terrorist groups like Isis.

Russia's deputy envoy to the UN Vladimir Safronkov demanded that members of the Security Council, including the US, stop their "unprofessional arguments and accusations against my country."

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, has been open in her criticism of Russia in light of the latest chemical attack in the Idlib province of Syria, resulting in up to 100 deaths. Video in the wake of the attack showed several children among the victims.

Ahead of the session she said that “any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear.”

Mr Safronkov said the US actions and the support of allies in the Security Council were an "irresponsible geopolitical project."

"[Mr Assad] did this because he thought he would get away with it, he thought he could get away with it because he knew Russia would have his back," Ms Haley said in her statement, looking over to the Russian envoy.

There was no love lost between she and Mr Safronov as he looked down at his phone while Ms Haley was speaking.

Ms Haley said the US was "fully justified" in launching nearly 60 missiles onto an air field where the latest chemical attack is thought to have originated.

She said that sometimes states are forced to take action when the international community cannot come to a solution, referring to Russia's use of their veto power in the Security Council seven times to stop any kind of deal on Syria in the past.

Russia was intended to be "a guarantor" in assuring chemical weapons would be removed by Mr Assad's regime. Ms Haley presented three reasons why they may have failed in this task: that Russia was knowingly allowing weapons to remain, that Russia is "incompetent," or that the "Assad regime is playing [them] for fools."

Ms Haley said the missile attack was a measured response, but that the US is "prepared to do more."