The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced the full suspension of the “deconfliction” line of communication for US and Russian military forces operating within Syria today, citing US military aggression against the Syrian government last night as justification.
The US had used the communications system just last night to notify Russia that they were about to attack Syria, advising Russian troops at the attacked base to move to safety. Russia appears to be betting that, with no line for the US to give such “warnings,” they won’t risk attacking bases with Russian troops on them, risking killing Russian soldiers and dramatically escalating the situation.
The Russian Defense Ministry has also announced plans to deploy more of its advanced air defense systems into Syria in response to the US attack, saying they will serve to protest “the most sensitive objects of the Syrian infrastructure, warning the risk of direct US-Russia conflict has greatly increased because of last night’s attacks.
In addition, Russia has announced the deployment of the frigate Admiral Grigorovich to their naval base at Tartus, Syria, near where the US ships fired scores of Tomahawk missiles at Syria. While the Grigorovich is smaller than the US warships in the area, it is one of Russia’s newest ships, and capable of cruise missile fire of its own.
The Russian Foreign Ministry made clear they view the US attack as “a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria.” In their statement, they also said they believed the US had the attack planned well before the putative gas attack in northern Syria, having all the forces in place for the attack well ahead of time.