June 28, 2017 / 4:57 PM / a year ago

Russia says will respond 'with dignity' if U.S. mounts Syria strike

KRASNODAR, Russia (Reuters) - Russia will respond “in proportion” if the United States takes military action to prevent what it says could be a chemical attack by Syrian government forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Moscow, Russia June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

“We will react with dignity, in proportion to the real situation that may take place, Lavrov said.

Speaking at a news conference with his German counterpart, Lavrov said he hoped that the United States was not preparing to use its intelligence assessments about the Syrian government’s intentions as a pretext to mount a “provocation” in Syria.

“I expect that our partners in the region - American, European - will also have an open and comprehensible approach, aimed at de-escalation through normalization of the humanitarian situation,” Lavrov said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday the Syrian government appeared so far to have heeded a warning this week from Washington not to carry out a chemical weapons attack.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold in KRASNODAR, Russia; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh

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