16:52 GMT22 January 2021
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    The Russian foreign minister has commented in an interview with Sputnik on an incident of UN members coming under fire in the Syrian town of Douma on April 18.

    "At the time when they were in the area, shooting began from the part of the town where there were still a few dozen extremists, who were clearly warned ahead about who specifically will be arriving in the area and for what purpose," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

    A group of UN security personnel that visited Duma to assess the situation in the town ahead of the work of OPCW experts came under fire from militants on Wednesday. None of the UN officers were injured, but the attack hampered the OPCW's on-site probe into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma on April 7.

    READ MORE: Ex-UN Commission Member: Militants' Lab Equipment in Douma Made in UK or Germany

    The top diplomat told Sputnik that Moscow is "concerned about a number of players are trying to obstruct the activities of the OPCW. We do not doubt that high-level professionals are working in the OPCW, both in the Hague and in its visiting missions. However, we also can not exclude, because there is certain evidence of it, that these experts, these scientists could be used for political purposes."

    According to the Russian minister, certain forces wanted to prevent OPCW experts from promptly reaching the site of alleged chemical attack in Syria's Duma.

    What the West considers a chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7, without providing any evidence apart from footage from the notorious White Helmets group, served as a pretext for the US, Britain and France to launch over 100 missiles against Syria on April 14. This happened just a day before OPCW specialists were going to enter Douma to investigate. The Russian chemical corps had visited Douma's hospital and questioned witnesses of the incident and concluded that there were no traces of an attack.

    The White Helmets' footage has been proven to be fake by a doctor working at the hospital, where it was filmed, as well as by a boy used in the filming and his father. Moscow maintains the provocation was used to trigger a US strike on Syria and warned about such a development a month before the attack.


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