Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the “aggressive actions” of the U.S. in Syria, even as the Russian defense ministry downplayed the impact of Friday’s U.S. airstrikes. “The current escalation of the situation around Syria has a devastating impact on the whole system of international relations,” Putin said in a statement Saturday. At the same time, however, Russia’s defense ministry claimed the Syrian military shot down 71 of 103 missiles fired by the U.S., France, and the UK using Soviet-era air defense systems. Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi told a televised press briefing Saturday that “the high effectiveness of the weaponry in Syria and the excellent training of Syrian servicemen prepared by our specialists” were to thank for the majority of the missiles being downed. The Pentagon has disputed those claims, however, saying Saturday that “no Syrian weapon had any effect” on the strikes, despite air defense systems being deployed after the missiles hit.
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