The U.S.-led airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria will "exacerbate tensions" and further destabilize the region, Russian leaders said Tuesday. Russia's call for the U.S. to seek approval from the U.N. Security Council came hours after a coalition of Middle Eastern governments led by the U.S. began air and missile strikes on militant strongholds in Syria.
"Any such action can be carried out only in accordance with international law," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters. "That implies not a formal, one-sided 'notification' of airstrikes but the presence of explicit consent from the government of Syria or the approval of a corresponding U.N. Security Council decision."
Russian President Vladimir Putin also criticized the airstrikes Monday during a conversation with Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, saying the attack shouldn't have been launched without the consent of the Syrian government. "The Russian side would like to stress that air strikes against bases of the Islamic State in Syria should not be carried out without consent from the Syrian government," a transcript on the Kremlin's website said, according to the Moscow Times.
At least 50 people were killed in the airstrikes, which targeted various militant groups across Syria, including the Islamic State group, which is also known as ISIL or ISIS, and the Nusra Front. International law requires giving warning before attacking a country and the White House reportedly notified Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime before launching the airstrikes late Monday, but it's unclear how Assad reacted. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain “participated in or supported” the strikes, the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday.
"Attempts to achieve one's own geopolitical goals in violation of the sovereignty of countries in the region only exacerbate tensions and further destabilize the situation," the Russian ministry said.
Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, warned about the “clandestine aims” of the U.S.-led coalition in an interview with Russian-funded television channel RT shortly before the airstrikes, according to Bloomberg. The coalition nations are the “same countries which have conspired against Syria for more than three years,” al-Moallem said.
The U.S. began similar airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq in August. President Barack Obama vowed to go after the Islamic State militants wherever they may be in a Sept. 10 speech. He's expected to address the nation about the airstrikes in Syria Tuesday morning.