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Russian diplomat slams Washington’s use of force in Syria as challenge to global security

April 12, 16:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the situation in Syria had aggravated sharply after the US missile strike overnight to April 7
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© Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via AP

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Washington’s use of force in Syria is a serious threat both to regional and international security, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

The Russian diplomat noted that the situation in Syria had aggravated sharply after the US missile strike overnight to April 7.

"Unfortunately, anti-Russian forces in the West are not stopping in their desire to destroy positive undertakings on the way towards political settlement, which, as you know, were created largely thanks to the efforts by Russia and its partners in the Astana process, and also by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and his team in Geneva," the Russian diplomat said.

"The military and political situation in the country sharply deteriorated as a result of the US massive strike on the Shayrat airfield overnight to April 7," the diplomat said.

"Washington’s military actions are a serious challenge not only to regional, but also to international security. Unfortunately, anti-Russian forces in the West continue seeking to destroy positive endeavors towards the settlement," she said.

"We proceed from the understanding that we have already expressed our opinion of the April 7 events. It was aggression from the standpoint of international law. The settlement efforts will now be continued at a meeting with the US Secretary of State. A Russia-Syria-Iran meeting is due on April 14. The main focus of efforts in Syria should be on returning the situation back onto the track of collective struggle against terrorism and on stimulating processes in Astana and Geneva."

Russia’s role in Khan Shaykhun incident

US claims Russia might have had knowledge about the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun are irresponsible and non-constructive, she went on.

"What comments can be made on this? Such news, such fakes deserve only one type of comment," she said.

"What if real knowledge of the terrorists’ preparations for the provocation existed overseas and for that reason cruise missiles had been targeted against the Shayrat airdrome in advance?" Zakharova said. "Will we indulge in polemics in this way further on or start along a constructive track? Will we use the mass media, thereby ruining them by such fakes, or will we achieve the understanding of the need for a responsible approach to over-ripe international issues?"

OPCW competence

The issue of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun in the Syrian province of Idlib is outside the competence of the Turkish Health Ministry, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

The Russian diplomat thus commented on the Turkish Health Ministry’s position with regard to the use of chemical agent sarin in Idlib.

"It seems to me that the Turkish Health Ministry should deal with the analysis of water in the sea ahead of the [tourist] season and check the quality of food products, including in resorts," the diplomat said.

As the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, the problem of chemical weapons is within the competence of the relevant international organizations.

In particular, the issue is within the competence of "not only the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons" but also within the competence "of the relevant division dealing with the investigation of incidents with the use of chemical weapons directly on the territory of Syria," she said.

Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said on Tuesday that experts had established with accuracy the fact of the use of sarin in the Syrian province of Idlib.

On order by US President Donald Trump, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Shayrat military aerodrome in the Syrian province of Homs overnight to April 7. Washington called this operation a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun in the Syrian province of Idlib on April 4.

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