Russia has revealed it warned the US about “red lines” it should not cross before it launched airstrikes on Syria.
Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is reported to have said that officials in Washington were contacted before last weekend’s strikes by the US, UK and France.
Mr Lavrov said: “There were military leadership contacts, between generals, between our representatives and the coalition leadership.
“They were informed about where our red lines are, including red lines on the ground, geographically. And the results show that they did not cross these red lines.”
Some 105 missiles were launched in response to a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma on 7 April that killed more than 40 people.
The Kremlin had threatened retaliatory action if strikes were launched – but it now appears there was at least some level of cooperation.
Russia, a key ally of Syria, has denied that any chemical attack took place.
International inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Damascus almost a week ago but are still waiting to visit the site of the suspected attack.
Mr Lavrov says that, following the airstrikes, it is morally free to deliver S-300 missiles to the Syrian regime.
He said: “Now, we have no moral obligations. We had the moral obligations, we had promised not to do it some 10 years ago, I think, upon the request of our known partners.
“We took into consideration their claim that this could destabilise the situation. Even though it’s purely defensive. Now we don’t have this moral obligation any longer.”
Military analysts say the S-300 surface-to-air missile system would boost Russia’s ability to control airspace in Syria, where Moscow’s forces support the government of President Bashar al Assad and could be aimed at deterring tougher US action. (Sky News)