Russian Federation slammed for 'stunt' bringing Douma residents to OPCW

Russia and Syria officials presented several unharmed people in the OPCW HQ in The Haque on April 26 and held a press conference to show "evidence" that the allegations of the chemical attack were "completely null and void" as Aleksandr Shulgin, Russia's representative to the OPCW stated.

Britain and France have denounced as a "stunt" and "masquerade" a move by Russian Federation and Syria to produce Syrian witnesses to support claims that there was no chemical attack in the city of Douma earlier this month.

Doctors, however, said they had treated patients with symptoms matching exposure to chlorine and nerve agents. The panic seen in footage provided by the White Helmets was caused mainly by people shouting about the alleged use of chemical weapons, Nasrim, who witnessed the chaotic scenes, added. No one has died.

Assad has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.

The attack was prompted after Western nations accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on the rebel-held suburb of Douma that killed 43 civilians on April 7.

But Russia, a supporter of Assad's regime, has claimed chemical weapons were not used in Douma and even accused the United Kingdom of staging the attack.

However, the OPCW is not mandated to fix blame for the attack.

"This masquerade only betrays the huge nervousness of those who organised it and who have the most to fear from the OPCW investigation", Lalliot said. "But while OPCW experts were set to arrive in Syria, the American, the British and the French launched missiles". The Guardian reported that UN Secretary General António Guterres told countries involved in the attacks to respond in accordance to global law and the charter of the United Nations.

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Russian Federation has been expressly asked to stick to process by the Director General of the OPCW and let their Fact Finding Mission interview witnesses first but Russian Federation has chosen to ignore this request.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France wants to take a new initiative to help finding a sustainable political solution in Syria, following airstrikes on three chemical-weapons facilities in Syria in a joint operation with the US and Britain earlier this month.

He claimed the countries which carried out air strikes were "afraid to look the truth in the face, they're afraid to look in the eyes of small Hassan".

The authenticity of the information gathered to date on the chemical attacks that occurred in Duma on April 7 is unassailable, said the U.S., Britain, France and their supporters in the joint statement.

It was unclear who Russian Federation planned to present, but the OPCW said they have not been interviewed by investigators.

Russian Federation and Syria intend to hold a news conference near the OPCW premises in the Hague later.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) told RTS that Switzerland "has fully adopted European sanctions against Syria" but that "in certain cases measures... are regulated differently, for example via the law on the control of goods". The Russian delegation said its intention was not to interfere with the FFM's work.

Near the end of the event, Shulgin compared what he called the hoax chemical attack to the Gleiwitz provocation, a false flag attack carried out by Nazi Germany and used as a pretext for the invasion of Poland at the start of the Second World War.


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