Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has rebuffed the claims that Russian experts tampered with the evidence as they visited the site of an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma.
The “concern” that Russia “may have tampered” with the site of the purported attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7 emerged in media reports on Monday, which cited Kenneth Ward, US Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). While Western leaders rushed to pin the blame for the incident to the Syrian government, a team of Russian specialists managed to reach the site last week and found no traces of chemicals or apparent victims of a chemical attack. Ward has accused Russian experts of having the “intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.”
Responding to those allegations during an interview to BBC, the top Russian diplomat stressed that he “can guarantee” that Russia did not tamper with the site.
When asked about the evidence the Western leaders presented to the world, Lavrov pointed out they have presented none – only the reports in question.
“You quoted the leaders of France and [the] UK and the United States. And frankly speaking, all the evidence which they quoted was based on the media reports and on social networks,” the minister said.
The alleged use of chemical weapons has not been confirmed by the international chemical watchdog, the OPCW. Notably, a special team tasked with investigating the issue had just arrived in Syria when the trio of Western states – the US, the UK and France – launched strikes against the Syrian targets. Moscow said that the move was actually aimed at thwarting the watchdog’s operation.
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