U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with senior military leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg)  

Trump Rows Back on Syria Attack Timing as Russia Urges Calm

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said an attack on Syria could come “very soon, or not soon at all,” just as Russian leaders urged calm and reined in their own war rhetoric.

The president said Thursday on Twitter that he “never said when an attack on Syria would take place.” The comment came roughly 24 hours after warning Russia to “get ready” for a missile attack on its ally.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday appealed for common sense in a world growing “more chaotic,” and a government spokesman said Thursday that the U.S. and Russia need to avoid steps in Syria that may have a destructive impact on efforts to resolve the conflict.

The escalating tensions have weighed on investors, with crude prices hovering the highest levels since 2014. Oil producers and insurance companies led gainers on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, helping blunt the more downbeat sentiment from Asia, where equity benchmarks from Tokyo to Sydney fell.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.