Boris Johnson: Russian claims UK was behind Douma chemical attack are demented
Boris Johnson has condemned the “absolutely demented” accusation by Russia that the UK was somehow involved in faking the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.
The Foreign Secretary also blasted the suggestion Britain was behind the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal as “absolutely demented”.
And he took a shot at Jeremy Corbyn for his failure to point the finger at the Kremlin for the Salisbury attack - arguing the Labour leader was showing a “blindness to reality”.
This week Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused the UK of being “directly” involved in orchestrating a fake chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma.
He said Moscow had “irrefutable evidence” that last week’s assault on the area near Damascus, reported to have killed up to 75 people, including children, was staged by a foreign secret service.
Meanwhile Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko has suggested the UK could have poisoned the Skripals with a chemical agent earlier this month in Salisbury.
But Mr Johnson fumed today: “It is a plainly and utterly preposterous and deranged suggestion to say either that Britain was involved in what happened in Salisbury, which is blatantly offensive, or that we were somehow involved in what happened in Douma, which is absolutely demented.”
Appearing on the BBC Andrew Marr show, he also hit out at Mr Corbyn for failing to condemn the suggestions - although the Labour leader did suggest they were false.
And he blasted the veteran left-winger for saying he wanted to see "incontrovertible evidence" that Russia was behind the Salisbury poisoning.
“To continue to deny the likelihood of Russian involvement, of state sponsored assassination attempts is I think quite extraordinary and I think [suggests] a sort of blindness to reality that I find very very perplexing - a sort of defiant refusal to accept that the Kremlin could be responsible,” Mr Johnson declared.
He said it was “extraordinary” to deny that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack after the security services said Moscow had been teaching spies how to apply Novichok to door handles and had hacked into Yulia Skripal’s email.
Mr Johnson meanwhile hailed the decision by Theresa May to bomb chemical weapons sites in Syria in the wake of the chemical attack, alongside allies the US and France.
He said the airstrikes showed "the world has said enough is enough" on chemical weapon use. But he added that the mission will not "turn the tide" on the civil war in Syria.
The Prime Minister will make a statement in the Commons tomorrow in the wake of the bombing, after she refused calls to hold a parliamentary vote before any action.
But appearing on ITV's Peston on Sunday show, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said taking questions from MPs was not enough without a vote.