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Russia supports Damascus request to deploy OPCW mission to Syria

A Russian diplomat says the OPCW has taken no steps to investigate the Khan Shaykhun incident

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russia supports Damascus’ request filed with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that it should deploy a representative international mission with balanced staff whose conclusions could be trusted, Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department on arms control, told TASS on Wednesday.

"Damascus showed utmost openness and cooperability," Ulyanov said. "We fully support this request and believe it to be the only way forward. However, we cannot see readiness from our Western partners to take advantage of Damascus’ constructive stance."

The OPCW has taken no practical steps to investigate into the Khan Shaykhun incident, the diplomat said. 

"It has been eight days since the incident occurred, but the OPCW has taken no practical steps to launch an investigation," said Ulyanov. "It was only announced that an OPCW mission had started collecting all the available information but we understand that means they are collecting information on the internet and questioning witnesses in Syria’s neighboring countries. It is nothing but a sham while there is a need for a serious and full-fledged investigation to be conducted on the scene."