Chemical weapons in Syria were produced by militants and equipment was manufactured in Western Europe, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
"The equipment, the leakage of which came out a few days ago… I would like to say that some of it is equipment that was used by militants, terrorists. It was discovered in the city of Douma," Zakharova said at a briefing of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense for the diplomatic corps to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The militants' chemical lab in Syria's Douma produced high-tech pentaerythritol tetranitrate (TEN) explosives and also had precursors of mustard agent and chlorine, Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov said.
"With the help of this equipment, [militants] produced high-tech and high-quality TEN explosives. During the search of the lab, [the Russian military] also found thiodiglycol and triethanolamine, which can be used for the production of sulfur and nitrogen mustard, as well as hexamine," Kirillov said at a briefing on the investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Kirillov added that the military had also found a chlorine gas cylinder, similar to the one used by militants in the staged chemical weapons attack in Douma.
Some equipment parts for the synthesis of a mustard agent, which had been found in militants’ chemical laboratories in the Syrian city of Douma, were produced in the European Union and North America, Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov said.
"We would like to draw your attention to the fact that certain parts of the equipment and reagents were produced in the EU and North American countries," Kirillov told a briefing, held jointly by the Russian defense and foreign ministries.
Cylinders from the scene of the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma were only sealed by OPCW representatives a month and a half after the incident took place, in violation of the OPCW standards, Kirillov noted.
"What kind of results can we expect from a Fact-Finding Mission investigating this incident that has already led to a massive missile strike by the US, UK and French aircraft on the territory of the sovereign state in violation of international legal mechanisms? Obviously, they are preparing yet another accusatory report based on pseudo-evidence," Kirillov stressed.
The footage presented by the White Helmets has been confirmed as fake by a boy who was filmed and his father, as well as another boy who got food for taking part and a doctor at Douma's hospital where the shooting took place.
Russian servicemen have found no evidence of any attack at the site but discovered a militant laboratory equipped for producing chemical weapons.
US, UK, France, Allies Trying to Turn OPCW Into Politicized Institution
"While conducting investigations into chemical incidents in Syria, compliance with a strict sequence of actions to preserve evidence has been violated," Maj. Igor Kirillov, chief of the Russian Armed Forces' Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, said.
The Russian Defense Ministry’s representative stressed that the neglect of the OPCW standards "led to contradictions, inconsistencies and falsifications of facts in the reports on the results of investigations, which are clearly anti-Syrian in nature."
"The United States, the United Kingdom, France and their allies are again misleading the international community and are striving for confrontation. Using staged chemical attacks they accuse Syria of violating the [Chemical Weapons] Convention, and Russia of facilitating this [violation]. Against this background, a campaign has been organized to turn the OPCW into a politicized structure that has the authority to issue strict guilty verdicts against individual states and their leaders," Kirillov said.
He stressed that "the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission into the use of chemical weapons in Syria, which is carrying out investigations depending on the United States and its allies, plays an unenviable role here."
"In order to satisfy the interests of the United States and its allies, the mission delayed the investigation of the incidents in every possible way, and the final report on the Ltamenah incident was published one and a half year after the incident. [It was done] only to use this fact to advance the decision about giving the OPCW the 'pseudo-judicial' functions of appointing the perpetrators and determining the punishment," he said.
Damascus has repeatedly refuted the allegations of the chemical weapons use, saying that the full destruction of its arsenal was confirmed by the OPCW in 2016.
More than 40 tons of poisonous substances were found on the territories liberated from terrorists in Syria in 2017, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has invariably declined requests by the country’s authorities to conduct inspections in militant warehouses with poisonous chemicals, Kirillov said.
White Helmets Used Low-Grade Bomb in Khan Shaykhun in 2017, Not Chemical Weapons
The White Helmets used a low-grade explosive device in the Syrian settlement of Khan Shaykhun last year to stage a chemical weapons attack, later blamed on the Syrian government forces, Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov, chief of the Russian Armed Forces' Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, said.
"The characteristics of the crater show that it was formed as a result of the detonation of a land-based low-power explosive device, rather than an aviation bomb launched from an aircraft," Kirillov told a briefing.
The Russian military commander mentioned photos and videos showing people in the first hours after the attacks without any special protective clothing.
"This points to the absence of sarin in the crater as there is usually a lethal concentration [of a chemical agent] inside and around a crater after a chemical weapon has detonated, and the people close to it as well as those who were helping the injured would not have been able to avoid exposure," Kirillov said.
An analysis of photos of munition, allegedly used in the chemical attack in Syria's Al Lataminah, has shown that these were fragments of a conventional blast bomb, not a chemical one, he stressed.
"A crater by an explosion is different from what could have been done by an explosion of air-dropped chemical munition and suspiciously resembles a crater by an 'air-dropped chemical munition' faked by the While Helmets in Khan Sheikhun," Kirillov told a briefing, held jointly by the Russian defense and foreign ministries.
Provocateurs Added Sarin to Samples to Blame Alleged Chemical Attacks on Damascus
Sarin chemical agent was added to samples from Syria by provocateurs in order to further accuse the Syrian government forces of carrying out chemical attacks against civilians, Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the chief of the Russian Armed Forces' Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, said.
"In our opinion, it [sarin] was purposefully added to the samples by provocateurs in order to accuse the Syrian government forces," Kirillov said.
The Russian side, as well as the Syrian government, have warned repeatedly about the possibility of opposition provocations in the form of an alleged chemical attack.
Chemical Incident Probes in Syria Without On-Site Visits Unprofessional
"Holding investigations into alleged chemical incidents in Khan Shaykhun [April 4, 2017], Saraqib [February 4, 2018] and Ltamenah [March 24, 25, 30, 2017] and making conclusions on them without on-site visits, shows a non-professional approach," Kirillov said at a briefing.
Kirillov noted that the reports of international investigators are full of such words as "probably," "possibly," or "we can assume."
"Such vocabulary is inadmissible for a serious document, which must be based on irrefutable evidence," the Russian official explained.
According to Kirillov, compliance with a strict sequence of actions to preserve evidence has been violated during the investigations as well.
"While holding investigations into these incidents, the fundamental principle of permanent control was violated, namely, the Chain of custody, which prescribes the necessity to follow a strict sequence of actions to ensure the preservation of evidence," Kirillov stressed.
According to Kirillov, two designated OPCW laboratories, which analyzed the samples handed over to the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission by the White Helmets, received contradictory results.
In February, the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation received information from a local resident in a village in Idlib that Al-Nusra Front* terrorists and White Helmets, the so-called Syrian Civil Defense, were preparing to stage a provocation involving the use of chemical weapons and blame it on Damascus.
Kirillov emphasized that "one laboratory found organic chlorine elements in 14 samples, while another laboratory did not find them at all." According to Kirillov, a number of samples contained traces of explosives, but eyewitnesses reported that there was no explosion of the balloons.
"The samples contained chemicals that cannot be explained either as natural elements that can be seen in the environment nor as related to chlorine… In our opinion, the only explanation for the presence of these substances in the samples is that they were deliberately put there by the White Helmets, who handed these samples to the OPCW Mission," he said.
Damascus Destroyed Chemical Weapons Facility in June, 1 Last Place Left
The Syrian authorities have dismantled a facility in Al Maliha related to the former chemical weapons program on June 8, one last facility still awaits destruction, the chief of the Russian Armed Forces' Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, said Friday.
"Syria is doing everything possible to meet all the objectives it assumed on dismantling the facilities linked to the former Syrian military chemical program. One facility, in Al Maliha, was destroyed by the Syrians on June 8, 2018, after they failed to receive assistance from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the proof was sent to the OPCW," Kirillov noted.
According to Kirillov, the Syrian authorities are currently working on dismantling the last remaining facility, in Tel Kurdi.
The Syrian government and Russia have denied the accusations, saying that the alleged attack in Douma was staged by militants and the White Helmets organization to influence public opinion and justify possible foreign intervention.
Despite this, on April 14, the United States, France and the United Kingdom carried out a missile attack on a number of targets in Syria, including the facilities in Barzeh and Jamraya, in response to the alleged attack in Douma.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a total of 103 cruise missiles were launched by the United States and its allies, 71 of which were intercepted by Syria's air defense systems.
*Tahrir al-Sham (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra) is a terrorist group banned in Russia