MOSCOW, May 3. /TASS/. Russia expects specialists from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to carry out an independent investigation into the incident in Syria’s city of Douma and invites experts from the US and France to join it, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with Italian newspaper Panorama.
He reaffirmed that there was no chemical attack in Syria’s Douma on April 7, but a "new dirty provocation made by those who do not want peace in Syria."
"We expect their [the OPCW experts’] trips to result in an objective independent investigation, including visits to all facilities linked to the statements of a chemical attack and extremists’ activity in poisonous agents production," Lavrov said. "From our part, we helped the experts’ work as best we could."
"We’ve found witnesses of the provocation and involuntary participants of the incident staged by the White Helmets - boy Hassan Diab and other Douma residents," the foreign minister reiterated. "On April 26, they told at the OPCW headquarters about how the staged footage of the chemical attack had been actually made."
The minister said that Moscow is not calling on anyone to take it at face value, so "initially it openly backed an investigation into the incident by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons." "National experts from the US and France could also join it," the Russian foreign minister added.
Earlier, the United States accused Russia and Syria of denying the OPCW experts full access to Douma.
Lavrov reiterated that when the OPCW expert group was ready to depart for Damascus and then for Douma, "an act of aggression was conducted against Syria, a sovereign state and a UN member." "We cannot accept the logic of those who present unmotivated punishment as the best proof of guilt. This is nonsense," the minister noted.
"The subsequent accusations of the Russian military allegedly dragging out the [OPCW] experts’ departure and meanwhile ‘clearing the site’ are also absurd," the foreign minister noted. "Any specialist may confirm that it would be impossible to destroy traces of a chemical attack amid destroyed infrastructure, as agents penetrate deeply into soil and walls.".