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UK air strikes on Syria cannot be viewed as humanitarian intervention — embassy

April 16, 2018, 2:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The specific arguments used by the UK in support of its position confirm this further," the embassy added

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MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. The air strikes on Syria carried out by Great Britain, France and the United States on Saturday, cannot be considered to be a humanitarian intervention, the Russian embassy in London said in a statement in response to a media question.

"International law only allows to use force in self-defense or under a Security Council mandate," an embassy press officer said, commenting on the UK’s clarification of its legal position, which claimed that the legal basis for the strikes against Syria was "humanitarian intervention". "The fact that Britain refers to "humanitarian intervention" is therefore a direct acknowledgement of the unlawfulness of the air strikes. The specific arguments used by the UK in support of its position confirm this further," the embassy added.

According to the press officer, "we are dealing with an attack under a false pretext, a false legal basis and a false result." "We should add that today, speaking at the Andrew Marr Show, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson admitted that the strikes were not about saving lives or actually preventing President Assad from further chemical attacks, but should simply be seen as a ‘message’," the statement adds. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in an interview with Euronews earlier expressed hope that the missile attack would be "a deterrent" for the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian embassy noted that "the gist of British reasoning is that the whole international community recognizes that a ‘new’ chemical attack in Syria is imminent and that only the air strikes could prevent it." "Yet… the international community is not convinced that a chemical attack took place in Douma, and wants to see the results of the ongoing OPCW investigation… to say that ‘there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved’ is hypocritical, to say the least," the statement says.

Missile attack on Syria

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile attack on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities was carried out by US warplanes and naval ships in cooperation with British and French on Saturday. The Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the United States and its allies.

Earlier, the US, Great Britain and France claimed the strikes had been conducted in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb of the Syrian capital.

Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes to be a response to a chemical weapons attack, which had allegedly happened in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. Reports about the incident had been spread by a number of non-government organizations, including the White Helmets.

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed those allegations as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were not a reliable source of information as they were known for spreading fabricated news.

On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria visited Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons.

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