Syria chemical attack staged by United Kingdom, claims Russian Federation

Russia is an ally of Syria and gives military backing to its government

The UN Security Council on Saturday soundly rejected Russia's call to condemn the United States and its allies for striking Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

"Again, we are being threatened", Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has said in a statement. "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

As fears of a Russia-West military confrontation mounted, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "deep concerns" over the situation in Syria in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart today, Putin and Hassan 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. "You need to be really exceptional to shell Syria's capital at the moment when it had gained a chance of a peaceful future".

Overnight, US, British and French forces launched more than 100 missiles from ships and manned aircraft, targeting three of Syria's main chemical weapons facilities. The Kremlin said both Putin and Macron lauded the upcoming visit of the global chemical watchdog's fact-finding mission to Syria and pledged to join efforts to provide necessary assistance to that mission.

"It's.highly likely an attempt to create complications for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission which was just starting its work in Syria's Douma, or an attempt to completely derail it", Interfax quoted Kosachev as saying.

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Mr Lavrov said in a press conference on Friday: "We have irrefutable evidence that this was yet another performance and that security services of a country which is trying to be in the frontlines of the Russophobic campaign were involved in this performance".

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".

On Sunday, the day after the attack, the USA president said Russian President Vladimir Putin bore responsibility for the "atrocity" in rebel-held Douma, because of his support for the Syrian government.

A team of inspectors from the OPCW arrived in Syria on Thursday and Friday and had been expected to start their investigation into the alleged Douma attack on Saturday. It also said Russian officers found no patients with chemical attack symptoms at a local hospital, and no indication of any burials having taken place of the victims.

Lavrov noted that Russian and USA militaries have a hotline to prevent incidents, adding that it's not clear if it would be sufficient amid mounting tensions.

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