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Lavrov slams West’s so-called proof on Douma chemical incident as absurd for experts

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blasted the actions by the US and its allies in Syria as unacceptable

MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Specialists would consider the Western coalition’s so-called evidence of the alleged use of chemical weapons by Damascus ridiculous, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Assembly of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy on Saturday.

"There are ‘irrefutable facts’ regarding Syria’s Douma, they tell us in order to justify the strikes they have delivered," Lavrov said.

"Nothing more is given, except mentioning media outlets, social networks and the video, which is quite ludicrous for specialists," Russia’s top diplomat said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blasted the actions by the United States and its allies in Syria as unacceptable and illegitimate.

Russia’s top diplomat made this statement at the 26th session of the Assembly of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy on Saturday.

"The talk will be about how our Western partners explain their totally illegitimate and unacceptable actions. The US president, the UK prime minister and the president of France were claiming that they had irrefutable facts that the chemical weapons were, first of all, used in Douma and, secondly, this was done by no one else but Bashar Assad by giving the relevant order," Lavrov said at the beginning of his speech. 

"Our counterparts are telling us that they have classified information but they are unable to share it," Lavrov said. "As you understand, we are also capable of receiving confidential information. Since the information is related to issues, literally linked to death and life, we will not be withholding this information."

 Russia suggested organizing a visit to the Syrian town of Douma for American and French experts in chemical weapons but eventually they dodged it, Lavrov said.

On Wednesday, a US embassy official asked, while visiting the Russian Foreign Ministry, if American experts might go to Syria.

"We answered, ‘Good idea! We’ll agree this with Damascus’," the minister said, noting that in a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Vladimir Putin suggested that French experts be sent to Syria.

"They agreed that contacts between the defense ministries would follow up to put the idea into practice, but none of French counterparts has got in contact with either our ministry or the defense ministry," he said.

Missile strike against Syria

According to data of Russia’s Defense Ministry, the missile strike against Syria’s military and civilian infrastructures was carried out by US warplanes and naval ships in cooperation with British and French air forces between 03:42 and 05:10 Moscow time on Saturday.

As the Russian Defense Ministry reported, the Syrian air defenses shot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the United States and its allies.

The United States, Britain and France said the strikes were in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Douma.

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.

Representatives of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Sides held a probe in Douma on April 9 but found no traces of chemical weapons use. On April 10, Damascus sent an official invitation to the OPCW to visit Eastern Ghouta. On the same day, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said the organization had made a decision to send its experts to Syria.

OPCW experts were due to begin their probe at the scene of the alleged chemical attack on Saturday.