Russia Refutes Claims of Involvement in Idlib Incident - Envoy to OPCW

© REUTERS / Ammar AbdullahA man breathes through an oxygen mask as another one receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria
A man breathes through an oxygen mask as another one receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria - Sputnik International
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According to the Russia's envoy to the OPCW, Russia refutes any accusations of its involvement in an alleged chemical attack in Syria's Idlib.

A Syrian man is taken by civil defence workers to a small hospital in the town of Maaret al-Noman following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun, a nearby rebel-held town in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia categorically refutes any accusations of its involvement in an alleged chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province, Russia's envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin said.

"We strongly reject the accusations against us in conniving at the tragic events in Syria and even in complicity in a crime involving the use of chemical weapons. This is an outright lie," Shulgin said in an address to the OPCW Executive Council on Thursday.

Moscow expects that experts from the OPCW will start working in Syria no later than April 22, Alexander Shulgin added.

"After what happened in Idlib and the gross violation of international law by the United States, which resulted in aggression against sovereign Syria, further delay is impossible. Taking this into account, we would like to hope for the adoption of the presented decision of the Executive Council, so that the mission of international experts proposed by us and the Iranians could start working in Syria no later than April 22 this year," Shulgin said Thursday.

Russia does not see any obstacles to an early start of an international probe into an alleged chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province, Alexander Shulgin said.

"Quite frankly, we see no obstacles to an immediate start of the investigation, in view of the willingness of the Syrian government to provide free and safe access for OPCW experts to the Ash Sha’irat airbase," Shulgin said in an address to the OPCW Executive Council on Thursday.

"In turn, states that have influence on the armed Syrian opposition should help resolve the issue of ensuring the safe travel of experts to Khan-Shaykhun," Shulgin stressed.

On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces blamed the Syrian government for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib province. Damascus denied any involvement in the Idlib incident, while the Syrian army said it does not possess chemical weapons. Western powers rushed to condemn Damascus, while Russia insisted on a proper investigation and said the incident was likely the result of an airstrike on a militant weapons cache rather than a deliberate attack.

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