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UN Security Council debates chemical attack in Iraq’s Mosul on Russia’s initiative

Russia suggested that chemical attackreports to be investigated by experts of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the UN and the OPCW

UNITED NATIONS, March 11. /TASS/. Russia brought before the UN Security Council the issue of a chemical attack, presumably carried out by terrorists last week in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Russia’s deputy UN envoy said.

"We drew attention to the latest case of chemical weapons use (in Iraq) and stressed that the problem is becoming region-wide. Those events prove that terrorist organizations have the real potential for the production and use of chemical weapons," Vladimir Safronkov told reporters after a closed session of the UN Security Council that convened at Moscow’s initiative Friday.

He said the Russian delegation suggested those reports to be investigated by experts of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), created in 2015 to investigate chemical attacks in Syria. A resolution to extend its mandate, adopted last November, allows it to carry out investigative activities in other states as well.

Last week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) issued reports that hospitals near Mosul had patients undergoing medical treatment against injuries sustained as a result of the chemical weapons attack. OPCW said it requested additional information about the suspected chemical attacks from the Iraqi authorities and offered help in an investigation.

The Iraqi authorities said they had no information at their disposal regarding the possible use of chemical weapons.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Friday Moscow was profoundly concerned about the use of chemical weapons in Mosul. "We have been monitoring the situation since March 2013. In light of this, of considerable interest are the assessments by Western experts who stated that after Mosul’s seizure by ISIL (former name of the Islamic State, IS, terrorist group, outlawed in Russia - TASS) the Islamic State has considerably expanded its capabilities to make poisonous substances," she said.