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Russia missile sale to Syria is ‘significant escalation’: John Bolton

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U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Monday that Russian plans to supply Syria with an S-300 missile system would be a “significant escalation” by Moscow and that he hopes it will reconsider.

Russia said on Monday it will supply the surface-to-air missile system to Syria in two weeks against strong Israeli objections, a week after Moscow blamed Israel for indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military plane in Syria.

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“We think introducing the S-300s to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians … and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider,” Bolton told reporters.

“There shouldn’t be any misunderstanding here … The party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran,” he said.

Russia is fighting in Syria in support of the government.

Bolton warned that if the Syrian government used chemical weapons again, the U.S. response would be significant.

“If in fact they make the mistake of using chemical weapons again, the retaliation would be much stronger than before and would have the intended effect of creating structures of deterrence that they never do it again,” he said.

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Bolton said the United States was doing everything it could to ensure Syria did not use chemical weapons and had pressed Russia about the issue as well.

Bolton said a political process was needed but said Russia’s plans on the missile system made that difficult. He said U.S. troops would stay active in Syria as long as Iran was involved.

“We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” he said.

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Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Mary Milliken, Grant McCool and James Dalgleish


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Will Sondland turn on Trump? Watch live coverage of Day 4 of the Trump impeachment hearings

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On Wednesday the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold its fourth public impeachment hearing looking into allegations that President Donald Trump abused his office by attempting to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing an investigation that would benefit the president politically in return for releasing $400 million in much-needed security aid.

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A historian explains why Robert E. Lee wasn’t a hero — he was a traitor

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There’s a fabled moment from the Battle of Fredericksburg, a gruesome Civil War battle that extinguished several thousand lives, when the commander of a rebel army looked down upon the carnage and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That commander, of course, was Robert Lee.

The moment is the stuff of legend. It captures Lee’s humility (he won the battle), compassion, and thoughtfulness. It casts Lee as a reluctant leader who had no choice but to serve his people, and who might have had second thoughts about doing so given the conflict’s tremendous amount of violence and bloodshed. The quote, however, is misleading. Lee was no hero. He was neither noble nor wise. Lee was a traitor who killed United States soldiers, fought for human enslavement, vastly increased the bloodshed of the Civil War, and made embarrassing tactical mistakes.

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Adam Schiff moves to implicate Pence in the Ukraine scandal as Republicans go off the rails

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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