Russia has dismissed as “unconvincing” the United States’ claim that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons against the opposition.
President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy aide likened U.S. “facts” of chemical weapons use in Syria to the fabricated evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that justified the 2003 U.S. invasion.
“I wouldn’t like to draw parallels with the notorious [anthrax] vial demonstrated by Secretary of State Colin Powell, but the facts given to us are unconvincing,” Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Friday.
“It would be hard even to call them facts,” Mr Ushakov said referring to the information provided to Russia by the U.S. “What was presented to us by the Americans does not look convincing.”
Mr Ushakov warned that if the Americans “carry out more wide-scale aid” to the rebels this will make it more difficult to convene the international peace conference on Syria, which Russia and the U.S. have agreed to co-sponsor.
At the same time, he said Russia was not “competing” with the U.S. in arms supplies to the warring sides in the Syrian conflict and was not planning “yet” to unfreeze the contract for the delivery of S-300 air defence missiles to the Syrian government forces.
“We are not talking about that as yet,” the Kremlin official said.
A senior Russian lawmaker accused the U.S. of spreading lies about chemical weapons in Syria.
“Information about the use by [President Bashar] Assad of chemical weapons has been fabricated in the same place as the lies about [Saddam] Hussein's weapons of mass destruction,” said Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament. “Obama is taking the same path as George Bush.”
The lawmaker predicted that the U.S. would now escalate its involvement in the Syrian conflict.
“We cannot rule out the possibility of cruise missile strikes and direct military intervention if these attacks bring no result,” he said.