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Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo / AP

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued its official response to the United States' strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for the Assad regime's chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians. It reads, in part:

While previous initiatives of this kind were presented as efforts to combat terrorism, now they are clearly an act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. Actions undertaken by the US today inflict further damage to the Russia-US relations.

Russia claimed the U.S. has "totally distorted" the events in Syria, stating the Assad regime does not possess chemical weapons and blaming the deaths on "toxic land mines" created by rebel terrorists. It called the strike an attempt to divert international attention away from Mosul, where a U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS has led to the accidental deaths of hundreds of Iraqi civilians.

In addition, the statement also suspended the Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents that coordinates U.S.-Russia communications regarding flight paths over Syria and called for an "emergency meeting" of the U.N. Security Council.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

The week markets went wild

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio

The markets just closed out a manic week.

Why it matters: Outsized — and in some cases historic — moves were evident across the board.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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