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US and its allies not interested in objective Syria probe — Russia's OPCW envoy

April 16, 2018, 19:51 UTC+3

The United States, the UK and France said the strikes had been a response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma

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THE HAGUE, April 16. /TASS/. The United States, France and the United Kingdom are not interested in an objective investigation in Syria’s Douma, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin said on Monday.

"The fact that this tripartite aggression announced as a response to the use of chemical weapons in Douma was committed right at the moment when OPCW inspectors were expected to go to Syria to carry out a probe into the Douma developments causes resentment and indignation," he said at a meeting of the OPCW Executive Council. "It means that the United States, France and the United Kingdom are not interested in any objective investigation. We see that they need no objective investigation. They put entire blame on the Syrian authorities beforehand, even before the OPCW mission reached the site to find out possible evidence to the use of chemical weapons in Syria."

"So, the question is: what have we gathered here today for? Why have our Western partners convened this session if they have decided everything without any conclusions of the OPCW Technical Secretariat? What is this tragicomedy for? When the OPCW mission is still working to find out the truth," the Russian diplomat stressed.

"Today’s crisis around Syria is yet another evidence to the vile course the United States and its closed allies have been pursuing at the OPCW for the recent years," Shulgin said. "Today we are watching a disgusting show: the US, UK and French delegations are playing the hypocrite and, without batting an eyelid, picture themselves as guardians of international law and justify their aggression. But no one, except a group of their allies blindly trailing Washington in any of its reckless actions, has any doubts: the major threat to peace comes from these leaders of the Western camp."

Strike against Syria

On April 14, the United States, France and the United Kingdom delivered a massive strike on Syrian targets in bypassing of the United Nations Security Council. According to the Russian defense ministry, the missile strike was in the small hours on Saturday. The ministry reported that a total of 103 cruise and air-to-surface missiles had been fired, 71 of them were shot down by Syria’s air defense units. Three civilians were wounded. Neither of the missiles appeared in the zone of responsibility of Russian air defense systems in Tartus and Hmeymim. Russian missile defense systems were not used.

The United States, the UK and France said the strikes had been a response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma.

Some non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. According to the statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.

The Russian foreign ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian defense ministry stated that White Helmets were an unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods. The Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons. OPCW experts are to begin a fact-finding mission in that city on April 16.

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