Get ready for missiles, Trump warns
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has warned Russia to "get ready" for missile strikes in Syria as he slammed Moscow for backing "gas-killing animal" Bashar al-Assad.
The US President tweeted that the air strikes would be coming "nice and new and smart".
"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!"
"You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
He said relations with Russia were now worse than during the Cold War.
The Kremlin said it would not engage in "Twitter diplomacy".
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying that care should be taken not to aggravate the situation in Syria.
"We do not participate in Twitter diplomacy," Mr Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax. "We support serious approaches. We continue to believe that it is important not to take steps that could harm an already fragile situation."
In a later tweet, Mr Trump claimed that the "bad blood" with Russia was due to the Special Counsel's Russia investigation into meddling in the 2016 US 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. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!" he tweeted.
However, Mr Mueller, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and the head of the FBI Christopher Wray are actually all Republicans.
The extraordinarily provocative tweets come hours after Prime Minister Theresa May bowed to international and domestic pressure and agreed Britain will join France and the United States in a likely military strike on Syria.
It also showed the intensity of the proxy war being fought in Syria, where the Assad regime is being propped up by Russia and Iran.
Mrs May had agreed with Mr Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron that a chemical weapons attack, believed to have been carried out by the Assad regime on Saturday and which killed 43 people, could not go unchallenged.
The US is finalising plans for a military response against the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, which is being propped up by Russia and Iran.
A Downing Street spokesperson said Mrs May, Mr Trump and Mr Macron had agreed that "reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria were utterly reprehensible.''
The statement said that, if confirmed, the attack was "further evidence of the Assad regime's appalling cruelty against its own people and total disregard for its legal obligations not to use these weapons.
"They (the three leaders) agreed that the international community needed to respond to uphold the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons,'' the statement continued.
"They agreed they would continue working closely together and with international partners to ensure that those responsible were held to account."
How that action might play out was not outlined, but the White House said Mr Trump had cancelled a trip to South America to "oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world.''
Mr Macron indicted any potential air strike would target Syria's chemical weapon supplies.
The horrifying images emerging from Douta, a suburb of Damascus, of dying women and children foaming at the mouth further strained already fraught relations between the West and Russia.
Moscow and London are already involved in an intense diplomatic row after the UK accused Russia of using a nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, in the UK town of Salisbury last month.
Russia sought to head off a potential strike on Syria by the Americans, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calling for a UN resolution to establish an independent inquiry into what happened at Douma on Saturday.
Mr Lavrov argued those who "employ anti-Russian arguments to pursue Russophobic aims'' would have no interest in the truth if they took action without an investigation.
But Moscow's push for an independent inquiry by the Security Council and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into the chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma was voted down.
The Syrian regime denied it had used chemical weapons and said it had already invited the international weapons watchdog into the country to investigate.
The OPCW has set up an investigation but needs Russian co-operation to enter the area where the apparent attack took place.
And while it can rule on whether chemical weapons were used, it has no authority to declare who deployed them.
In an effort to debunk the claims against its ally Syria, the Russian Embassy in London tweeted links to a Russian TV report which claimed there had been no chemical weapon attacked in Douma.
The Russian Embassy in South Africa also tweeted that soil tests had shown no sarin, chlorine or any other chemical agents, and that local hospitals had not received any patients with chemical poisoning symptoms.