U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the Russian delivery of the S-300 Russian air defense system to Syria is “a very serious escalation” of tensions in the region.
Pompeo’s comment, at a press briefing in Washington, was the latest in a series of warnings from the Trump administration that Moscow’s decision was a dangerous one.
The national security adviser John Bolton warned last month that the deployment of the S-300 would risk complicating a careful balance of air power in Syria, where warplanes fly from Russia, Israel, and the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State terrorists.
In late September, Pompeo put the Russians on notice that the U.S. is prepared to hold Russia “accountable” for such a reckless move, but did not specify what action it would take.
Pompeo also blamed Iran on Wednesday for threats to American missions in Iraq and said the United States was terminating a treaty of amity with Tehran.
“Iran is the origin of the current threat to Americans in Iraq,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “Our intelligence in this regard is solid. We can see the hand of the Ayatollah and his henchmen supporting these attacks on the United States.”