Russia says it is now free to hand a cache of missiles to Assad regime

Russia has revealed that it warned the US about "red lines" it should not cross before it launched airstrikes on Syria.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov 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.

"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.

Mr Lavrov also claimed the missile strikes had removed a "moral obligation" that had been preventing it from delivering  a cache of S-300 missiles to the Syrian regime.

"Now, we have no moral obligations," he said.

"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 is purely defensive.

"Now we don't have this moral obligation any longer."

Mr Lavrov said he was 100% convinced Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump would not allow an armed confrontation between the two superpowers.

The Russian foreign Ministry said President Trump invited his Russian counterpart to visit the White House a number of times during a recent phone call.

Mr Lavrov said President Trump offered to visit Russia in return.