By Max Greenwood - 04-09-17 07:00 AM EDT
A former supreme allied commander of NATO on Sunday described souring relations between the Trump administration and Russia amid a series of foreign policy collisions between the two countries.
"That relationship between the Trump administration and Russia is gradually going downhill, because I think the senior members of the Trump administration are beginning to realize that Russia is not a force for good in the world," retired Adm. James Stavridis told radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.
"I think reality is setting in about how difficult a partner Vladimir Putin will be, and I think events in Syria have underlined that for the administration," he added.
Stavridis's comments came days after the U.S. launched a missile strike on a Syrian military air base on Thursday, marking a drastic escalation of U.S. intervention in the country's ongoing civil war.
The attack was in response to a chemical weapons strike in northern Syria on Tuesday allegedly carried out by the regime of President Bashar Assad. That chemical attack left more than 70 civilians dead and many others wounded.
While the U.S. retaliation was largely hailed by world leaders, it drew a bitter response from Russia, a staunch backer of the Assad regime. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin called the strike an "aggression" and said the U.S. had violated international law.
The U.S. attack led the Kremlin to suspend an agreement between the two countries meant to lower the risk of in-flight collisions of U.S. and Russian aircraft in the region.
On the campaign trail, President Trump spoke fondly of Putin and expressed a willingness to increase cooperation between the U.S. and Russia.
The FBI and congressional investigators are currently conducting separate probes into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.