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Monday, April 16, 2018, 17:03
Putin predicts global 'chaos' if West hits Syria again
By ​Reuters
Monday, April 16, 2018, 17:03 By ​Reuters

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, April 14, 2018 at United Nations headquarters. (MARY ALTAFFER / AP)

MOSCOW/DAMASCUS - Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.

The Kremlin said Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in Syria as the US is readying new sanctions against Russia

In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Putin and Rouhani agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement.
READ MORE: US-led strikes on Syria spark global call for political settlement

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the UN Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in internation alrelations," the Kremlin statement reads.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told CBS' "Face the Nation" program that the United States would announce new economic sanctions on Monday aimed atcompanies "that were dealing with equipment" related to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged chemical weapons use.

On Saturday, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7.

The Western countries blame Assad for the Douma attack that killed dozens of people. The Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied involvement in any such attack.


The bombings marked the biggest intervention by Western countries against Assad and ally Russia but the United States, France and Britain have said the missile strikes were limited to Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and not aimed at toppling Assad or intervening in the civil war.

Responding to Haley's remarks about the plans for new sanctions, Evgeny Serebrennikov, deputy head of the defence committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, said Moscow was ready for the penalties, according to RIA news agency.

"They are hard for us, but will do more damage to the USA and Europe," RIA quoted Serebrennikov as saying.

In Damascus, Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, met inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW for about three hours in the presence of Russian officers and a senior Syrian security official.

On Saturday, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria

The inspectors were due to attempt to visit the Douma site.

Moscow condemned the Western states for refusing to wait for OPCW's findings before attacking.

'RESILIENCE'

Assad told a group of visiting Russian lawmakers that the Western missile strikes were an act of aggression, Russian news agencies reported.

Syria released video of the wreckage of a bombed-out research lab, but also of Assad arriving at work as usual, withthe caption "morning of resilience" and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Russian agencies quoted the lawmakers as saying that Assad had praised the Soviet-era air defence systems Syria used to repel the Western attacks and had accepted an invitation to visit Russia at an unspecified time.

Trump had said "mission accomplished" on Twitter after the strikes, though US Lieutenant-General Kenneth McKenzie at the Pentagon acknowledged elements of the programme remain and he could not guarantee that Syria would be unable to conduct a chemical attack in the future.

DRAFT UN RESOLUTION

France, the United States and Britain circulated a draft resolution to UN Security Council late on Saturday that aims to establish a new independent inquiry into who is to be responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The mechanism would look at cases where the OPCW fact-finding mission has established chemical weapons were used or likely used.

Diplomats said negotiations on the draft resolution would begin on Monday and it was not immediately clear when the United States, France and Britain wanted to put it to a vote.

This handout satellite image taken on April 14, 2018 and provided on April 15, 2018 by Distribution Airbus DS, shows the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) compound in the Barzeh district, north of Damascus, after it was struck in raids by the United States, Britain and France. US, French and British missiles destroyed sites suspected of hosting chemical weapons development and storage facilities on April 14, but the buildings were mostly empty. (PHOTO / HANDOUT / CNES 2017, DISTRIBUTION AIRBUS DS / AFP)
ALSO READ: Syria crisis: China urges solution through talks

 

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