TOKYO: While the last week's missile attacks in Syria by US, UK and France have escalated tensions between Washington and Moscow, triggering fears of a possible World War III, it also appears to have cast a shadow over North Korean denuclearization talks.
The combined military strike against Syrian chemical sites by the world major powers, following evidence that a chemical weapon was used by President Bashar Assad's government, has evoked a sharp response from Russia.
Russia has now threatened to give a tough response to the US and called the military attack in Syria fabricated and said that no evidence suggesting the use of chemical weapons exists in Douma.
Escalating tensions between Russia and the US, the Donald Trump Administration had earlier this month added 38 Russian entrepreneurs, senior officials and firms to its sanctions list as part of its effort to crackdown on the country’s “malign activity” taking place across the globe.
The sources in Kremlin have confirmed that the Putin government is working on retaliatory measures to hit back at the Trump Administration for announcing the fresh sanctions against Moscow.
''I will not announce anything, we are working on that, '' Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov was quoted as saying by Sunday Express.
Russian state television too cautioned the citizens of the country to prepare for World War III after the US declared that it is “locked and loaded” to strike Syria again if President Bashar Assad's regime continues using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in the war-torn country.
The statement issuing World War III warning appeared on Russian state media after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) rejected a resolution by Russia calling for condemnation of "aggression" by the United States, United Kingdom and France against Syria.
Russia's demand for condemnation and an immediate halt to "aggression" and "any further use of force" by the three Western allies got support from only two other countries on the 15-member Security Council - China and Bolivia.
Eight countries voted against the Russian draft - the US, UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Kuwait, Poland and Ivory Coast while four countries - Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea and Peru - abstained.
The US, UK and France said they launched air strikes against Syrian chemical sites after obtaining evidence that a chemical weapon was used by President Bashar Assad's government.
On the rising US-Russia tensions over Syria, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that Tokyo would "support the determination of the US, UK and France that the proliferation and use of chemical weapons will never be allowed."
The Japanese leader also said that he is willing to discuss the situation in Syria and the Middle East with US President Donald Trump when the two meet in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia – a staunch ally of the US - also expressed support to the action taken by the world powers against the oppressive Syrian regime. The strikes "send an unequivocal message to the Assad regime and its backers, Russia and Iran, that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated," Turnbull said in a joint statement with the foreign and defense ministers.
However, China spoke in a different tone and criticized the strikes, claiming they were a violation of the principles of international law. Beijing claimed the military strike were carried out without a thorough investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
"Unilateral military action bypassing the Security Council runs contrary to the purpose and principles of the UN Charter," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news conference. "Regarding the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, a comprehensive, impartial and objective investigation should be carried out."
Interestingly, Indonesia – the world's largest Muslim country - maintained a neutral stance.
While it condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, it also urged all parties to maintain the security and safety of civil society, especially women and children.