MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister met with Head of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in Syria Edmond Mulet on Thursday to discuss further steps to investigate the use of chemical weapons in the Arab country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"The Russian side is convinced that one of the integral elements of this effort should be a visit by JIM experts to the city of Khan Shaykhun (the site of the April 4 chemical incident) and the Shayrat air base, where sarin, used in Khan Shaykhun, was allegedly stored," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website.
According to the statement, the Russian side stressed "the need to hold a highly professional, unbiased and de-politicized investigation into this episode and other" cases of purported use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Earlier this week, the UN commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria, accused the official government in Damascus of using chemical weapons. Its report, published in Geneva on Wednesday, claimed that chemical agents were used, among other things, in Khan Shaykhun on April 4. According to OPCW experts, sarin or other similar nerve agent was sprayed in the city on that day.
According to the Russia’s Defense Ministry, the Syrian aviation struck terrorists’ workshops producing chemical warfare agents in Khan Shaykhun. Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons, after which the US Navy delivered a missile strike overnight to April 7 on the Syrian military airfield of Shayrat in the province of Homs.
On August 22, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its concern that Washington put the blame for the incident on the Damascus government, de-facto speaking on behalf of the international community. According to Moscow, such statements are possibly made to justify further interference into the domestic affairs of Syria and the April 7 US airstrike, carried out in breach of the international law.