Tess Torelli April 16, 2018

The world is watching Russia for its reaction to Western missile strikes that were carried out on its ally Syria, but analysts predict Moscow’s retaliation could be fairly limited despite rapidly escalating tensions.

The U.S. is expected to announce Monday more sanctions on Russia because of its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad. This after the U.S., U.K. and France conducted a coordinated missile strike targeting the suspected chemical weapons infrastructure of the Syrian government Saturday.

Russia has signaled that it would respond to sanctions with retaliatory measures against the U.S. On Monday, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow “will not delay in adopting legislation against U.S. sanctions,” news agency RIA said, adding that Washington was demonstrating “open economic aggression.”

Russian lawmakers are reportedly considering legislation to give the Kremlin powers to ban or restrict a list of U.S. imports, Reuters reported Monday. Russia has signaled that it could look to target U.S. companies that use Russian products or rely on Russian industries, such as its nuclear energy and aerospace sectors.

Western airstrikes followed a suspected chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma on April 7 in which at least 70 people are believed to have died and which the U.S. and its Western allies have blamed on Assad. The Syrian regime denies involvement in the attack and Russia called it a “fabrication,” however.

Experts believe that Russia’s reaction should be muted, for now, with one analyst noting that the “likelihood of a direct, military response to the strikes from Russia is very low.”

“Despite the threats from Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin that Russia would target the platforms from which the missiles were fired, Moscow is fully aware that such an attack would not only constitute a massive and dangerous escalation,” Daragh Mcdowell, principle Russia analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, said in a note to Giftofaservant on Sunday.

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