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Russia demands just probe into reported chemical attacks in Syria, says Lavrov

On April 7, a number of NGOs, including the White Helmets, alleged that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta

MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. Russia advocates a fair investigation into the alleged chemical attacks in Syria, and is strongly against assigning anyone the blame without finding any proof, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during Monday’s press conference.

"We are in total support of a fair and immediate investigation, when they ask for it. However, when the investigation is intended to come at a predetermined point - that is, it was done by Assad with Putin’s support - there are no grounds for a serious discussion," he noted.

"We had already commented on this situation before it became a reality," the top diplomat stressed. "Our military currently in Syria and the Syrian government have warned countless times that a serious provocation is being concocted, aimed at blaming Damascus for using chemical weapons against civilians."

Russia’s top diplomat noted that, according to the reports about the phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump, they "exchanged proof" about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad’s regime. "The speed of reporting this information by the experts who had come to this conclusion… I wouldn’t want to make light of this situation, but this doesn’t add up to what could have actually occurred there," Lavrov pointed out.

"As for the reaction of our foreign colleagues in Washington, Paris, London, and other places, it is all quite simple: this was done by the regime, and if Russia supports the regime, then it is both Russia’s and Iran’s fault, and it is necessary to conduct an investigation," the foreign minister noted. "It is rather difficult for a logical person to understand the correlation between one and the other."

On April 7, a number of NGOs, including the White Helmets, alleged that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta. According to the statement published on the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs had been dropped on the city, killing dozens and poisoning many locals who had to be brought to the hospital. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed that report as fake news. The Defense Ministry added that the White Helmets were notorious for spreading falsehoods. Regardless of that fact, on Sunday, when asked about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, Trump blamed Russia and Iran for supporting Assad’s regime.