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Russia Slams U.S. Ahead Of UN Report On Syria Chemical Attacks

June 22, 2018

Moscow has charged that the United States and its allies fabricated evidence to implicate Syrian government forces in chemical-weapons attacks against civilians.

Russian Defense Ministry official Igor Kirillov, commander of the radiation, chemical, and biological protection forces, said on June 22 that an alleged attack in the town of Khan Sheikhun on April 4 was "a provocation staged by the [Syrian aid group] White Helmets and their sponsors."

"It was the first time a chemical attack was staged," Kirillov said.

Western governments and UN chemical-weapons inspectors have blamed that attack, in which at least 74 people were killed and more than 550 injured, on Syrian government forces.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Syrian government had found chemical-weapons production equipment in the town of Douma after it was captured from the control of antigovernment fighters.

"Part of the equipment, which was a professional plant from an expert viewpoint, was, unfortunately, manufactured in Western European countries," she said, adding that Moscow was "ready to transfer" evidence of this claim "to our colleagues."

General Kirillov said an upcoming UN report on a suspected chemical-weapons attack in Douma in April will be "anti-Syrian" despite "the constructive stance of Syria and Russia and their aspiration for dialogue."

UN inspectors said on June 20 that "the available evidence is largely consistent with the use of chlorine" during government air raids on the town of Douma on April 7. At least 49 people died and as many as 650 were injured in that incident.

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, Reuters, and dpa

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/russia- slams-us-ahead-of-un-report-on-syria- chemical-attacks/29313693.html

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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