Russia: Syria chemical attack 'fabrication' by foreign power

Russian Foreign Minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Dutch counterpart in Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied that Moscow had interfered with any evidence.

In a warning to the West against further strikes on Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said it is now considering arming Assad with Russian S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems for the first time.

London put "powerful pressure" on the civil defence organisation, Konashenkov said. And it shows that Washington appears to have succeeded for now in delivering a blow that did not provoke Russian Federation into a military response - even though the degree to which the missile attack hindered Assad's chemical-weapons capability is far from clear.

Meanwhile, Russia's Embassy to the United Kingdom tweeted a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, that denied there was any evidence of a chemical attack.

"Cabinet agreed that the Assad regime has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack".

In March, Russia's General Staff said rebels were planning a "provocation" in eastern Ghouta with women and children set to play victims of a chemical attack.

As fears of a Russia-West military confrontation mount, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "deep concerns" over the situation in Syria in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin and Macron instructed their foreign and defense ministers to maintain close contact to "de-escalate the situation", the Kremlin said.

He "regretted" the Russian veto at the U.N. Security Council which prevented a "united and firm response" after a suspected gas attack last week in Douma, Syria.

"We have irrefutable evidence that this was another staged event, and that the secret services of a certain state that is now at the forefront of a Russophobic campaign was involved in this staged event", he said during a press conference.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the Middle East is in such "peril" today that it has become a threat to worldwide peace and security - and Syria "represents the most serious threat".

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On Thursday, Russia's military said Douma has been brought under full control of the Syrian government under a Russia-mediated deal that secured the evacuation of the rebels and thousands of civilians after it was recaptured by Syrian forces.

President Bashar al-Assad appears to have the upper hand against rebel factions in this seven-year war - largely due to Russian support - and all indications point to that continuing.

OPCW inspectors have been attacked on two previous missions to the sites of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

They are expected to start their work on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Russian military said Syria's Soviet-made air defence systems have downed 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies.

President Trump ordered precision missile strikes Friday evening on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.

TRT World's Kevin McAleese explains what Trump's options are.

The US ambassador to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said there were suspicions that Russian Federation, a longtime ally of the Syrian government, may have tampered with the evidence.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", Moscow's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday.

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