MOSCOW, August 22 (Itar-Tass) - In determining its stance on the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russia will be examining conclusions made by a UN fact-finding mission, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
“We will be basing ourselves on findings of unbiased and independent investigation, including by a UN mission,” he said. Lukashevich said there were three sites where chemical weapons could have been used in the UN mission’s mandate.
In reply to the query whether it was possible to expand the mission’s mandate to Eastern Guta that reportedly came under a chemical attack on August 21, Lukashevich said this decision did not depend on the Syrian authorities. “As far as we know, this area is controlled by gunmen. We proceed from the fact that the (UN) mission must arrange on that maneuver (an investigation in Eastern Guta) with the inviting party,” he added.
The Foreign Ministry added that it had no data on a possible involvement of Russian citizens in military actions in Syria. “I can only say I saw analytical data proving that the number of mercenaries [in Syria] is between 6,000 and 40,000. This is a colossal figure,” Lukashevich said, adding, “I have no other data.”