Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed the United States had killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria. Questioned about the administration’s alleged lack of response to the reported targeting of US troops by Russia, the SecState responded by saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with “the 300 Russians who were in Syria and who took action that threatened America [and] who are no longer on this planet,” understand the United States’ stance on killing American troops. Last month, the New York Times revealed that Russian military officials incentivized the killing of American troops in Afghanistan by paying bounties to Taliban fighters for every soldier killed. The Times also reported US President Donald Trump had been notified on the subject but failed to respond, triggering a maelstrom of criticism. President Trump has denied being briefed on the subject, later claiming his intelligence agencies did not perceive the reports as being credible.
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