Russia Says Claims It's Preventing Syria Gas Attack Probe 'Groundless'
The Kremlin on Monday dismissed as "groundless" claims that Russia and Syria have not allowed a fact-finding mission by the world's chemical weapons watchdog to enter Douma to probe an alleged gas attack.
"We consider such accusations against Russia to be groundless," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow was in favor of "an impartial investigation."
Earlier, Britain's embassy to the Netherlands said Russia and Syria had not yet allowed a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to enter Douma, where an attack on April 7 -- allegedly using chlorine and sarin -- killed at least 40 people.
OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu had briefed emergency talks about the deployment of the team, which arrived Saturday in Damascus.
Moscow has vowed not to interfere in the team's work and hit out at the United States, saying the weekend strikes by the U.S., France and Britain on three facilities in Syria were a bid "to undermine the credibility" of the mission.
Peskov also dismissed French President Emmanuel Macron's claims that the weekend air strikes had driven a wedge between Ankara and Moscow.
While acknowledging some differences "on a number of issues" between Turkey and Russia, Peskov said they did not prevent the two countries from cooperating in the implementation of large-scale economic and other projects.
Predictably, the Western strikes against Syria at the weekend caused outrage in Moscow but Putin did not announce any retaliatory measures, with Russia simply calling an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council.