Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Russia warns of 'dangerous' escalation over Syria

Haley slams Russia over Syria chemical attack Drew Angerer Getty Images U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a U.N. Security Council meeting
Melinda Barton | 16 April, 2018, 03:44

The ministry additionally pointed to previous alleged use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops.

"The sole thing that they have an interest in is to oust the Syrian government and to deter, contain the Russian Federation", he added.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley greets her Russian counterpart Vasily Nebenzya before the Security Council meeting on Syria at the UN headquarters in NY.

The warning from Moscow came as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that increasing tensions over Syria could lead to "full-blown military escalation".

The council failed on Tuesday to approve three draft resolutions on chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow received the confidential information from the laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, that analyzed samples from the site of the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

"We have irrefutable evidence that this was another staged event, and that the secret services of a certain state that is now at the forefront of a Russophobic campaign was involved in this staged event", he said during a press conference.

What is less clear is whether sarin - the agent used in the chemical attack last April that prompted United States missile strikes - or a similar agent was also used.

What has Trump said about the attack?

"The capital of a sovereign government, trying for years to survive under terrorist aggression, has been attacked". He didn't elaborate or name the state.

Some analysts have predicted that the Kremlin will not wish to engage in a military clash with the US, but that the ongoing tension with Syria could push the two sides toward a military confrontation.

The military attack was ordered in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, in response to what the US believes was a chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week.

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

"Eventually, he got exasperated", said a source familiar with the internal debate at the White house.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks to the media a joint news conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra following their talks, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 13, 2018.

In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia supported the strikes, which sent "an unequivocal message to the Assad regime and its backers, Russian Federation and Iran, that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated".

But he said a long-standing "deconfliction" line was used to tell Moscow the areas where the Americans, French and British would be conducting operations.