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Haley slams Russian Federation over Syria chemical attack

16 April 2018, 02:38 | Kevin Scott

Source REX Shutterstock

Bus with Russian journalists shelled in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

The U.S. ambassador in Moscow, John Huntsman, said in a video, "Before we took action, the United States communicated with" Russia to "reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties". But he said he personally believes it was an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the military had "proof that testifies to the direct participation of Britain in the organising of this provocation in Eastern Ghouta".

The warning came after U.S. said that it is planning to strike Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack in Damascus earlier this month, which killed dozens.

Two sessions of the UN Security Council failed to calm the tensions between Russian Federation and the United States, which are on opposite sides in the conflict in Syria, while the USA responded to Russian Federation placing the Black Sea Fleet on alert by announcing that the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and a group of ships accompanying it will be stationed in the Mediterranean starting on Wednesday.

Russia's Ministry of Defense says the airstrikes, which began overnight around 2am Irish time, were not in retaliation to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, which killed at least 12 people, including children. Last year, the USA launched a retaliatory strike against one said to have taken place in Khan Sheikhoun, where victims had tested positive for sarin poisoning.

The chairman of the worldwide affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, said the strikes were a violation of worldwide law and probably created to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work. Another president would have repudiated a world vision where autocrats abuse their citizens with genocide, chemical weapons, or persecution without fear of worldwide accountability.

The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russian Federation hung over the Middle East yesterday but there was no clear sign that a United States-led attack was imminent.

The U.S. joined more than 20 countries expelling more than 100 Russian diplomats and intelligence officers.

"We warned about this long ago", he said.

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A fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is expected to arrive in Douma on Saturday. US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council "there is clear information demonstrating Assad's culpability".

Russian officials from President Vladimir Putin on down condemned the strike as an act of aggression against a sovereign state carried out on the pretext of staged chemical attack.

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Trump's threats to attack are "reckless" and endanger worldwide peace and security.

The White House has since given out that it was guided by news reports and reports by other sources (probably NGOs) in accusing Bashar al-Assad.

Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow received the confidential information from the laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, that analyzed samples from the site of the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

The participation of British and French forces enables Trump to assert a wider worldwide commitment against the use of chemical weapons, but the multi-pronged attack carries the risk of Russian retaliation. Sanders said the president's national security team to discuss the options regarding Syria.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the Security Council meeting without referring to either Russian Federation or the United States, but stressed his deep concern that the growing tensions could spiral into broad conflict.

They do not want to let terrorists go from Syria into Russian Federation, she added. The U.S. Defense Department said it did not comment on potential military actions.

After six weeks of heavy fighting and an estimated 1,700 civilian deaths in the Eastern Ghouta region, the Syrian government is now said to have control of the area, which lies just outside of Damascus.

The capture of Douma has clinched a major victory for Mr Assad, crushing what was once a centre of the insurgency near Damascus, and underlines his unassailable position in the war, which entered its eighth year last month.



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