Monday, 21 May, 2018

Britain's UN ambassador denies Russian accusation over alleged chemical attack in Syria

Russia's Putin ties with Montenegro at odds with our age-old friendship Russia's Putin ties with Montenegro at odds with our age-old friendship
Sammy Stanley | 14 April, 2018, 12:57

Russia's foreign ministry said today that Western strikes on Syria came as the country had "a chance of a peaceful future".

Russia's ambassador to the United States on Friday warned that there would be consequences for the US-led military strikes on Syria, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president.

US President Donald Trump warned Russian Federation on Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to the April 7 gas attack, alleged to have killed dozens of people, and lambasted Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, often a more cautious voice than Trump's, pointed towards a United States response Thursday when he told lawmakers that "some things are simply inexcusable".

The U.S., France and Britain were in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

But the Syria conflict is a complex web of overlapping wars which have drawn in several world powers, and the risk of miscalculation is as high as Trump's Twitter rhetoric is provocative.

Trump met with his national security team on the situation in Syria later in the day and "no final decision has been made", the White House said in a statement.

Trump has suggested that he has little doubt that Syrian government forces are to blame for what he says was a chemical attack, but neither he nor other administration officials have produced hard evidence.

Prime-time talk shows on Russian state TV featured senior lawmakers and military experts engaging in heated discussions of possible scenarios of a clash between Russia and the US, all the way to an all-out nuclear war.

The draft proposed restricting imports of USA -made software and farm goods, US medicines that can be sourced elsewhere, and tobacco and alcohol. The White Helmets, a civil defence organization allied with the Syrian opposition that is largely funded by the United States and its Western allies, alleged that the Assad government was behind the attack. "Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" Trump wrote on Twitter. There were signs, though, of a global effort to head off a risky conflict pitting Russian Federation against the West.

A state broadcaster is telling Russians to stockpile food and water in preparation for war as the conflict in Syria escalates.

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Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow's ambassador to the United Nations, said he "cannot exclude" war between the United States and Russian Federation and urged Washington and its allies to refrain from military action against Syria.

"This is grotesque", Pierce told reporters as she left an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Syria and its ally Russia have denied such an attack took place, and Moscow has accused Britain of helping to stage the Douma incident to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

None of the air strikes hit zones where Russian air defence systems protect the Russian bases of Tartus and Hmeimim, Russian news agencies cited the Ministry of Defence as saying.

Moscow is estimated to have dozens of aircraft at its Hmeymim air base in Syria including fighters and bombers, as well as 10 to 15 warships and support vessels in the Mediterranean.

President Donald Trump is asking for a "prayer for our noble warriors" as he concludes his remarks announcing strikes on targets associated with the Syrian chemical weapons program.

The Russian military today said it had proof that an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta was staged on orders from London. The Russian stock market crashed as a result.

"This bill is about banning or restricting the import of agricultural products, raw materials and food, the country of origin of which is the United States", First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov told RIA Novosti.

Russian currency and stock markets, preoccupied with the threat of USA military action in Syria and the fallout from Washington's new sanctions, did not react to the draft legislation.

"If there is a USA missile attack, we - in line with both Putin and Russia's chief of staff's remarks - will shoot down USA rockets and even the sources that launched the missiles", Zasypkin told al Manar.

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