WASHINGTON, June 15. /TASS/. All chemical provocations in Syria follow the same scenario, the Russian embassy in Washington said, commenting on the US Department of State’s recent remarks.
Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on June 14 that Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants have delivered chlorine cylinders to the Syrian Deir ez-Zor province to simulate another "chemical attack against civilians" in a bid to create "a new pretext for a missile strike on Syria’s state facilities by the US-led coalition."
"Even State Department spokesperson cannot deny any CW [chemical weapons] provocation in Syria having the same scenario. Let's remind you about the loud exposure of the staged Douma 'attack'," the embassy said in a Twitter post.
US Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert replied that the United States was not preparing any kind of chemical provocation in Syria, describing Konashenkov's report as "false." "While Russia used nerve agent in #Salisbury and shields Assad from accountability for repeated CW attacks in Syria, we abide by the Chemical Weapons Convention," she added.
The Russian diplomatic mission also called on Washington to destroy its chemical stockpiles and declassify information about the nerve agent known as Novichok. While OPCW experts have confirmed that Moscow has completely fulfilled its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Washington still delays the program.
The Convention that went into force in 1997 stipulates that chemical weapons must be eliminated no later than 10 years after the document’s entry into force. However, the Pentagon has shifted the deadline of completing the program of eliminating its chemical weapon stockpiles several years now: from 2007 to 2012, then to 2017, to 2021 and, finally, to 2023.
In April, some non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claimed that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. According to the statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.
The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that White Helmets were an unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods. The Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons. However, on April 14, the US, the UK and France, using unconfirmed information about the chemical attack as an excuse, carried a massive strike on Syria without the sanction of the UN Security Council.