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Both Syria and Russian Federation have said reports of the attack were fabricated by rebels and rescue workers in Douma and have accused the United States of seeking to use it as a pretext to attack the government.

Confrontation is deepening between Moscow and London over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

The UK's envoy to the United Nations has called this a "grotesque, blatant lie". She noted in the meeting that Russian Federation "has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime's multiple uses of chemical weapons". Moscow strongly warned against any strikes and threatened to retaliate. And it shows that Washington appears to have succeeded for now in delivering a blow that did not provoke Russian Federation into a military response - even though the degree to which the missile attack hindered Assad's chemical-weapons capability is far from clear. The statement said none of the patients had any symptoms of chemical poisoning.

The statements were significant because the head of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, had previously said the Russian military would respond to US airstrikes that put Russian lives at risk by shooting down the missiles and potentially the ships or planes that fired them.

But Guterres said Syria today is the most serious, and "there is no military solution to the conflict".

He did not elaborate or name the state.

That line of thinking is particularly notable, as tensions between Russia and the United Kingdom have been particularly strained recently, as a result of an alleged nerve agent attack carried out in Salisbury, England by Russian operatives.

"Insulting the President of Russian Federation is unacceptable and inadmissible", he added.

Syria serves as an important access point to the Mediterranean Sea for Russian ships and a hub for Russia in the Middle East.

"They've got to look tough, like they're not letting this happen", Zilberman said, predicting that Russia's aggressive attitude would continue and US-Russia ties only degrade further.

She told the council that President Donald Trump "has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria, but should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree".

Mr Putin and Mr Macron instructed their foreign and defence ministers to maintain close contact to "de-escalate the situation", the Kremlin said.

"This is grotesque", Pierce told reporters as she left an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Ryabkov also said Russian Federation would study a U.N. resolution on Syria proposed by the United States, France and Britain, but added that it would be hard to reach a compromise on the issue, TASS reported.

Syria's attempt to shelter aircraft, perhaps by locating them alongside Russian military hardware that Washington might be reluctant to hit, could limit damage that the United States and its allies might be able to inflict on Assad's military.

Russian Federation has requested a United Nations meeting in NY later in the day, but this has not yet been confirmed.

"We warned about this long ago", he said.