Moscow will request the UN to conduct an investigation into the April 4 chemical weapons incident in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
According to comments carried by state media, Putin described the incident as a rebel provocation and said Russia has intelligence that such acts have been planned in other parts of Syria, including the capital Damascus.
Russia is the main military backer of Syria’s ruling regime, a long-time ally.
U.S. forces on April 7, conducted a missile strike on a Syrian military base that Washington alleged was responsible for a recent chemical weapons attack in which numerous civilians were killed.
Putin said the U.S. missile strike was reminiscent of the 2003 attack on Iraq, which led to the rise of the terrorist group Islamic State.
Russia and Iran, another military backer of the Syrian government, on Monday jointly condemned the US strike and called for an objective investigation into the chemical weapons incident.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow on Tuesday for a two-day visit to include talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The U.S. has supported some rebel groups seeking to overthrow Syria’s ruling regime, but has agreed with Russia on the need to eradicate terrorist groups, particularly Islamic State.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement ahead of Tillerson’s visit that U.S.-Russian relations are “experiencing their most complicated period since the end of the Cold War.”
The Foreign Ministry threatened retaliatory measures against the U.S. if there is a lack of progress on resolving accumulated problems between the two great powers.