In an interview with the Le Figaro French newspaper, Putin affirmed that there is no evidence indicating that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in Syria, considering that all claims in that respect are a provocation.
He reiterated that the accusations were groundless and politically motivated, noting that Moscow called on Washington and other interested parties to send inspectors to the Syrian airfield from where the alleged chemical originated as well as to the site of the bombing in Idleb’s Khan Shaikhoun.
He added that if chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government, modern verification equipment would certainly find traces of this and these traces would be found in the aircraft and at the airfield. However, everyone refused to conduct such an inspection.
“We also proposed sending inspectors to the site of the alleged chemical attack. But they refused as well, claiming that it was dangerous. Why this dangerous if the attack was delivered at an area where peaceful civilians live and the healthy part of the armed opposition is deployed?” the Russian President said.
Putin said that in his opinion, the accusations have been made for the sole purpose of justifying the use of additional measures, including military ones, adding that agreement to establish four de-escalation zones in Syria, free from fighting between Syrian government and armed groups, and called it “an extremely important milestone”.
In a relevant context, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the strikes of the US-led coalition under the pretext of combating terrorism in Syria has nothing to do with the fight against terrorism, adding that Moscow condemns this acts.
“We are concerned over a series of the coalition’s airstrikes in Syria, particularly the one carried out on May 25 in al-Mayadin, where 35 civilians were killed,” Zakharova said in its weekly press conference.
“On May 27, 20 civilians died south of Raqqa,” she added. “We condemn these ill-conceived attacks as they have nothing to do with the fight against terrorism,” Zakharova added.
“In fact, these air raids have been exacerbating the situation in Syria, increasing the civilian death toll and spreading chaos and destruction which benefit militants of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terror groups, as well as their affiliated units,” the Russian diplomat stressed.
“We once again call on our counterparts to join efforts in the fight against terrorism, so that all interested parties could close ranks in order to eliminate this global scourge,” Zakharova added.
She noted that Russia’s proposal to establish close cooperation between Moscow and Washington on Syria remains on the table, pointing out that many meetings and negotiations took place between the two sides.
M. al-Frieh/H. Said