Russian military accuses UK of 'direct involvement' in 'staging' chemical weapons attack on Douma
The Russian government has accused the UK of being “directly” involved in staging the chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma.
Last week’s assault on the area near Damascus is reported to have killed up to 75 people, including children.
This morning Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said he had “irrefutable evidence” that the attack had been staged by a foreign secret service as part of “a Russophobic campaign”.
At a briefing this afternoon, defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov directly accused Theresa May’s government of fabricating the attack.
“The Russian military today have further evidence that bears witness to the direct involvement of the UK in the organisation of this provocation in eastern Ghouta,” he told reporters.
Mr Konashenkov claimed doctors in Douma had told the Russian authorities that “none of the patients” they were treating had been wounded by chemical weapons.
And he said local people had told the Russian authorities that a video of the aftermath of the attack had been “staged”.
The UK's ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, hit back this afternoon, saying: “Syria is the latest in a pernicious chronology of disregard by Russia for international law and disrespect for the international institutions that we have built together to keep us collectively safe.
“To stand by, to ignore the requirements of justice, accountability and the preservation of the non-proliferation regime, is to place all our security – not just that of the Syrian people - at the mercy of a Russian veto.”
‘LIES AND COVER-UPS’
But the Russian counter-claims were given short shrift by the American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.
Speaking in New York, she accused Moscow of allowing the Assad regime to continue using chemical weapons against its own population.
“We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news but no one is buying its lies and its cover-ups,” Ms Haley said.
“Russia was supposed to guarantee that Assad wouldn’t use chemical weapons and Russia did the opposite. The World must not passively accept the use of chemical weapons after almost a century of their prohibition.
“Everything the UN stands for is being blatantly defied in Syria, with the help fo a permanent member of this council.”