President Trump on Wednesday taunted Russia for backing a “Gas Killing Animal” and defied a warning from Moscow that it would knock down American missiles in Syria by declaring “they will be coming” in retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack.
“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! ,'” Trump wrote on Twitter. ” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it! ”
The president has been meeting with his military leaders and talking to allies France and Britain to come up with a “forceful” response to a chemical attack in Syria on Saturday that killed at least 60 people in Douma, a suburb of the capital of Damascus.
Calling the attack “atrocious,” Trump said “nothing’s off the table” during a meeting of his Cabinet secretaries on Monday.
He blamed Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who’s been a supporter of the regime, for being behind the attack.
Trump appeared to be reacting to earlier comments made by the Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, that Moscow would intercept any rockets fired into Syria.
“If there is a US missile attack, we – in line with both Putin and Russia’s chief of staff’s remarks – will shoot down US rockets and even the sources that launched the missiles, ” Zasypkin told Hezbollah-state run media, according to Al Jazeera.
Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir of the Russian military’s General Staff claimed an inspection of Douma showed no evidence of a gas attack and said Russian military police will head to the city on Thursday to provide security.
He said the military helped 41,213 people – including 3,354 rebels and 8,642 of their family members – to leave the besieged city.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov would not comment on how Russia would respond but warned the escalating tensions could “significantly destabilize” an already “fragile situation.”
About 40 minutes after Trump warned Russia to “get ready,” he took a more conciliatory turn by suggesting he could work to help the country’s economy and “Stop the arms race?”
“Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War. There is no reason for this ,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “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? ”
Continuing his tweets on Syria and Russia, Trump blamed the chilly relationship between the two Cold War foes on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow interference in the 2016 election.
” 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,” he wrote. “Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!”
He was referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller’s investigation.
Both are Republicans.