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Lavrov blasts US-led strike on Damascus for torpedoing progress in Syrian peace process

The Russian top diplomat comments on the recent missile attack on Syria

BEIJING, April 23. /TASS/. BEIJING, April 23. /TASS/. Moscow has been concerned over the developments in Syria given the recent missile attack carried out by the US, Great Britain and France, which jeopardized the progress in the war-torn country’s peace process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said at a press conference in Beijing on Monday.

"We are very much concerned over the developments in Syria because when a major breakthrough not only in the fight against IS [the Islamic State terror group outlawed in Russia - TASS] but also in the struggle against the remaining terrorists emerged, Eastern Ghouta was liberated from terrorists and real opportunities were created for a constitutional commission to be launched in compliance with the decisions made at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi - that was when a provocation was staged under the pretext of the use of chemical weapons," Lavrov said.

"They did not bother to wait for the OPCW experts to arrive at the alleged attack site and carried out air strikes though there was a lot of evidence proving that it was just a staged incident," he stressed.

"I think it should be clear to all impartial observers that this was aimed at disrupting the OPCW investigation and undermining the positive direction that was gaining ground largely thanks to the activities of the guarantor countries of the Astana process," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.

Lavrov was confident that "truth will find its way out." "Even most countries that had to show support and understanding for this totally illegal action understand that it is an absolutely unacceptable way to resolve serious international crises," he noted.

The Russian foreign minister also pointed to attempts "to undermine international law based on the United Nations Charter." "Attempts to be the judge and the jury, carry out investigations and announce sentences beyond the UN Charter are unacceptable," he stressed. "This is what we stated together with China at the UN Security Council platform, when draft resolutions on the issue were being considered, besides, our envoys also made such statements in their national capacity," Lavrov added.

Moscow will strive for inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to visit a hospital in Eastern Ghouta and Syrian laboratories that used to be under terrorists’ control, he said.

"The OPCW experts have not visited this place yet, just as they didn’t visit the hospital and the laboratories that had been liberated by the Syrian army with our support and in which militants had been preparing for chemical attacks before their withdrawal from Eastern Ghouta," the minister noted.

So, he said, "an immediate task is to make sure that the OPCW inspectors complete their work and that they do it without pressure, as there were attempts to crank up pressure on them." "We will strive for the inspectors to visit places linked to news of the supposed chemical attack (in Syria’s Douma,)" the Russian foreign minister stressed.

Missile attack on Syria

On April 14, the United States, in coordination with the United Kingdom and France, launched missile strikes on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the United States and its allies.

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.