RUSSIA-PUTIN-CONFERENCE

Russian officials are privately ‘furious’ with Bashar al-Assad’s regime over the April 4th chemical weapons attack that left over 80 people dead in Syria, reports Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen.

According to Rozen, the Kremlin sees the gas attack as a serious threat to US-Russia relations during Secretary of State Tillerson’s first official visit to Moscow. The visit comes amid increased tensions after the US military launched an airstrike against the Syrian regime in response to the use of chemical weapons.

Russian authorities are also nervous whether the airstrike signals an shift in American foreign-policy toward the six-year long Syrian civil war, with some in the White House calling for regime change and others insisting the US airstrike against Syria was a ‘one-off’ attack.

Despite denials from both the Russian, Iranian, and Syrian governments that any gas attack actually occurred, the Kremlin is privately embarrassed that Assad’s use of chemical weapons undermines the legitimacy of the Russian-brokered 2013 deal that allegedly removed all chemical weapons from Syria.

“It destroyed the legacy of the 2013 deal [to remove Syria’s chemical weapons] that both countries [the United States and Russia] certified. So it made liars of both of us,” a Russian military expert told Rozen. “Assad committed suicide here,” he added. Russia “will never forgive him for this.”

“The Russians weren’t happy about what happened,” said Nikolas Gvosdev, a professor at the Naval War College told Al-Monitor. “They don’t like unpredictability … when things happen that throw what they are planning off course.”

Read Laura Rozen's Full Report Here.