Russia has rejected United States’ claims that the Syrian government was behind reported gas attacks in Syria and warned the West that military strikes would rattle the region.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called his Russian counterpart late on Tuesday to argue Washington’s stance that, “based… on information from reliable sources”, Syria was responsible for last week’s alleged gas attack near Damascus.
“This argument was rejected by Sergei Lavrov, who put forward the Russian arguments,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“The [Russian Foreign] Minister stressed that we are advocating a concrete and thorough review by experts of all available information on any cases of possible use of chemical weapons in Syria,” the Russian Ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.
“Maximum efforts must be taken to support and guarantee the work of the group of experts in Syria as agreed upon by Damascus and the U.N.,” the statement said.
Russia has signalled opposition to Britain’s plan to table a draft resolution at the U.N. Security Council.
“It would be premature, at the least, to discuss any Security Council reaction until the U.N. inspectors working in Syria present their report,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told the Interfax newswire on Wednesday.
Mr. Lavrov told U.N. special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi on telephone on Tuesday that that “attempts for a military solution will lead only to a further destabilisation of the situation in the country and the region”.
Russia said it had evacuated 116 Russians and nationals of other former Soviet states from Syria by two Ilyushin-76 flights after they delivered 15 tons of humanitarian aid to Damascus on Tuesday and Wednesday.