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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

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

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