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Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 12:42 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 12:42 AM (IST)SYRIAN STRIKES

Russia denies ‘tampering’ with evidence at attack site

Kremlin hopes for dialogue with US
Russia denies ‘tampering’ with evidence at attack site
A boy stands near the remains of a missile at Douma in Damascus. Reuters

Moscow, April 16

The Kremlin on Monday dismissed as “groundless” claims that Russia and Syria have not allowed a fact-finding mission by the world’s chemical weapons watchdog to enter Douma to probe an alleged gas attack.

“We consider such accusations against Russia to be groundless,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow was in favour of “an impartial investigation”.

Western countries accused Moscow on Monday of preventing inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground.

Britain’s embassy to the Netherlands said Russia and Syria had not yet allowed a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to enter Douma, where an attack on April 7 — allegedly using chlorine and sarin — killed at least 40 people.

Moscow has vowed not to interfere in the team’s work and hit out at the United States, saying the weekend strikes by the US, France and Britain on three facilities in Syria were a bid “to undermine the credibility” of the mission.

Peskov also dismissed French President Emmanuel Macron’s claims that the weekend air strikes had driven a wedge between Ankara and Moscow.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said it still hopes for dialogue with Washington despite US-led strikes in Syria. “We hope that, when our American colleagues solve their internal issues, some kind of communication will begin despite all the damage to (our) bilateral relations currently imposed by Washington,” Peskov said.  Action in UK’s interest: May

Britain's decision to conduct air strikes against Syria was in the country’s interest, and not the result of pressure from the US President PM Theresa May told Parliament on Monday. “We have not done this because President Trump asked us to, we have done it because we believed it was the right thing to do, and we are not alone. There is international support for the action we have taken.” — Agencies

Scribe who reported on ‘Wagner Group’ dies

  • A Russian journalist who wrote on Moscow's "shadow army" in Syria has died after falling from the balcony of his fifth-floor flat, but investigators said on Monday that they were not treating the death as suspicious
  • Maksim Borodin fell from his apartment in Yekaterinburg, a major city in the Urals. He worked for the news service Noviy Den and recently wrote on the deaths of staff of the “Wagner Group”, the private army Moscow is using in Syria
  • Harlem Desir, the representative for freedom of the media at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said Borodin's death was “of serious concern”


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