US President Donald Trump has warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack, declaring that missiles “will be coming” and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters news agency reports.
Trump was reacting to a warning from Russia on Tuesday that any US missiles fired at Syria over the deadly assault on a rebel enclave would be shot down and the launch sites targeted.
His comments raised fears of direct conflict over Syria for the first time between the two world powers backing opposing sides in the country’s protracted civil war, which has aggravated instability across the Middle East.
“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!” Trump tweeted, referring to Moscow’s alliance with Assad.
In response, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a Facebook post that “smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not towards the lawful government”.
Russia later hit back, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying “we do not participate in Twitter diplomacy” in comments reported by the Interfax news agency.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has issued Russia a strong warning to ensure the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria is investigated.
Russia has vetoed the United Nations Security Council investigating the attack in Douma, where up to 80 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
“We call on Russia to use its enormous influence in Syria to ensure that this is investigated and those who have been responsible are brought to justice,” Mr Turnbull told Triple M radio.
“This use of chemical warfare – whether it’s in Syria or on a park bench in Salisbury in England – is a shocking violation of international law and an affront to humanity.”
Popstar Mariah Carey has revealed she suffers from bipolar disorder, a diagnosis she received more than a decade ago after a breakdown around the time of her critically panned movie Glitter in 2001.
Carey told People magazine she got the diagnosis when she was hospitalised following the emotional and physical breakdown and only sought treatment recently because she refused to believe it.
“I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” Carey said.
“It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love, writing songs and making music.”
Carey, one of the best-selling music artists in the world with 200 million records sold and hits like We Belong Together, said she was taking medication for the bipolar II form of the disorder, which is marked by less severe mood swings between depression and hyperactivity.
“For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” she said.
“But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working.
“I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall.”
Yulia Skripal, the daughter of a former Russian spy poisoned in the UK last month has refused an offer of assistance from Moscow following her release from hospital
In a statement issued on her behalf by British police, Skripal said her father remained seriously ill and she was still suffering from the effects of nerve gas used against them in an attack that led to one of the biggest crises in Britain’s relations with Moscow since the Cold War.
“I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian Embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can,” she said.
“At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.”
The Russian Embassy in London has previously said it had not been granted consular access to the 33 year-old woman.
Yulia Skripal was discharged from a hospital in the southern English city of Salisbury on Monday, where, she said, she was treated “with obvious clinical expertise and with such kindness”.
Skripal said she was not yet strong enough to give a media interview and she said comments made by her cousin to Russian media were not her’s nor those of her father.
“I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being,” the statement quoted her as saying.
The Skripals were in a critical condition for weeks after the March 4 attack before their health improved.
Britain accused Russia of being behind the nerve agent attack and Western governments including the United States expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats. Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning and retaliated in kind.