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Kremlin says Russia opposes groundless accusations over chemical attack

According to the Kremlin spokesman, the use of groundless accusations points to a coming crisis in bilateral relations
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

BISHKEK, April 14. /TASS/. Russia is not trying to advocate anyone concerning the chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, but strongly opposes groundless accusations against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"We don’t rule out any possibility and we are not trying to advocate anyone," he said. "We just insist that no one can be blamed for anything before an investigation is conducted. It would be a very dangerous precedent from the point of view of international law," the Russian presidential spokesman said.

According to Peskov, no evidence of Damascus’ involvement in the alleged chemical attack has been provided yet. "No one saw anything. In fact, some alleged evidence has been briefly mentioned but the evidence refers to the fact of the chemical attack," the Kremlin spokesman added. He also said that everybody agreed that chemical weapons had been used. "However, the dispute is over who used them," Peskov pointed out.

When asked if Russia had any evidence concerning the Idlib chemical attack, Peskov said that "we have the information provided by our military." "You must agree that compared to other countries, it (the Russian military) has a wider infrastructure in Syria. It has its point of view which has been expressed, but then again, we don’t expect anyone to believe our words, we insist on a thorough international investigation," the Russian presidential spokesman stressed.

According to Peskov, the use of groundless accusations points to a coming crisis in bilateral relations. "There are many lies and much slander," the Kremlin spokesman said.

In this connection he mentioned allegations saying that Russia was involved in the alleged cyberattacks on French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign website. "What are these accusations based on? I am sure that members of Macron’s election team cannot answer this question - the thing is that Russia is just bound to be blamed for everything. This is an absurd approach, it is highly unprofessional to voice such allegations, it only shows anti-Russian sentiment. Unfortunately, the number of such incidents has been growing. The only option left for us to do is repeatedly explain that this course will lead nowhere," Peskov said.

Chemical weapons incident

On April 4, Reuters cited the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying that an airstrike on Syrian’s town of Khan Shaykhun had killed 58 people including 11 children. Reuters alleged that the chemical attack could have been carried out by "Syrian government or Russian jets."

The World Health Organization said in a statement that "at least 70 people have died and hundreds more have been affected."

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on April 4, the Syrian air force delivered an airstrike on several militant facilities in the Idlib Governorate, where munitions filled with poisonous substances were being made. However, Washington came to a conclusion that Damascus had used chemical weapons which led the US to carry out a missile attack on a Syrian military air base located in the Homs Governorate.