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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancels Russia trip after US strikes on Syria

AFP file photo | British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Saturday he had cancelled a visit to Moscow on the heels of US-launched missile strikes on Syria and what he called “Russia’s continued defence of the Assad regime”.

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"Developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally," Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson condemned Russia's continued support for Syrian President Bashar Assad "even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians", which killed at least 86 people, including 27 children, on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Russia’s foreign ministry criticised Johnson’s decision, saying it showed a "lack of understanding of events in Syria".

The British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs had planned to travel to Russia on April 10 on a visit intended to start fresh dialogue with the Russian government.

"My priority is now to continue contact with the US and others in the run-up to the G7 meeting on 10-11 April -- to build coordinated international support for a ceasefire on the ground and an intensified political process," Johnson said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans meet with G-7 foreign ministers in Europe next week before going on to Moscow.

Johnson says Tillerson will be able to give a "clear and coordinated message to the Russians."

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

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