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Russian diplomat calls OPCW report on Khan Shaykhun incident ‘disappointing’

The OPCW report, published in late June, says that sarin or a similar nerve agent was sprayed in the city of Khan Shaykhun

MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. A report of the fact-finding mission for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the use of a chemical weapon in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun on April 4 arouses disappointment and has almost no new facts, Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov said on Thursday.

"We would like to stress that the OPCW report arouses disappointment. We hoped to have more serious and weighty results really bringing us closer to finding those guilty," Ulyanov, who is the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, told a briefing on the Syrian chemical dossier in Moscow.

The mission came to a conclusion two months ago in its preliminary report that sarin, a chemical weapon, was used in Khan Shaykhun, he said. "The final version of this document only confirmed this conclusion and added little essential things to the preliminary assessments."

According to the diplomat, there is such an impression that the past two months were wasted. "It is becoming more difficult to study the circumstances of the incident," Ulyanov said. "We have to state that apparently the fact-finding mission is just incapable of ensuring a more efficient work."

The diplomat called to carry out a more thorough investigation in the framework of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, saying that these experts must visit Khan Shaykhun and the Shayrat airbase. "Now when the use of sarin may be considered as an established fact, and we do not challenge it, there is the need to focus on how this toxic agent had been used and how it had been delivered to the scene," he said. "Only in this case we can hope to establish the truth and those guilty of the crime."

The OPCW report, published in late June, says that sarin or a similar nerve agent was sprayed in the city of Khan Shaykhun. As a result, 100 people were killed. The report will be handed over to the joint UN-OPCW investigative commission that would determine those responsible for the attack.

The incident involving the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib province took place on April 4. According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, Syrian aircraft struck terrorists’ workshops that were producing chemical agents. Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons, after which the US Navy delivered a missile strike in the small hours of April 7 on a Syrian military airfield Shayrat in the province of Homs.