Russia has told Sky News it will protect its people on the ground in Syria if missiles are launched by the US and its allies.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said the current situation with Donald Trump threatening to launch missiles at Syrian government forces is a “test for each and every country in the world to protect its people on the ground.”
Russia and Iran are the Assad regime’s allies in the Syrian civil war.
The Kremlin on Wednesday said the US and its allies – France, Germany and the UK – should “seriously consider” the consequences of their threats to launch military action in response to an alleged chemical attack carried out on Saturday in Douma, eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus.
Ms Zakharova told Sky News Presenter Dermot Murnaghan, in Moscow: “Russia should protect its people on the ground of course.
“We came to Syria at the invitation of the people.
“You can see their appreciation on the ground.”
Addressing communication between Russia and the US, Ms Zakharova said the fact there has been no US secretary of state for the past two months has been an issue.
“We’ve not had contact between two ministers but of course we’re holding contacts between the Russian Embassy in Washington and the State Department, and between the Russian foreign ministry and the US Embassy in Moscow.
“Of course, I hate to say this, but these contacts are rather poor, we need more contacts to make real communication but unfortunately our American partners are cutting all the roots, cutting communications.
“The last consultations on humanitarian issues they just cancelled and the most surprising for us was these consultations were asked for by the Americans. So they just destroyed the consultations they were asking for.”
She added that she was surprised Mr Trump tweeted that Russia should “get ready” because missiles “will be coming, new and new and ‘smart”.
“I was surprised that such strong messages were sent through social media because this should be a time to phone your partner,” she said.
She said Russia is not interested in being appreciated for what it is doing in Syria but it does “need cooperation”.
“Three years ago we put a proposal on the table, it’s still on the table, we really want closer cooperation on Syria and we really need it.
“We can resolve all these problems by picking up the phone not by force.”
Ms Zakharova said all she wants is peace and she “cannot understand why American politicians are still blind to what we’re trying to propose to them, we’re trying to propose cooperation”.
“Is it so difficult to understand that Russia wants cooperation with the whole world and wants peace. Is it so impossible to take this as it is?”