10:18 GMT22 February 2020
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    Russia does not want the scenario of US invasion in Iraq to occur in Syria and regards attempts to invent pretexts for invasions in sovereign states as unacceptable, Speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament, Valentina Matvienko said on Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — She pointed out that the US missile strike in Syria was a serious violation of the international law and an act of aggression against a sovereign state.

    "There was an example of western coalition's invasion in Iraq  under a far-fetched pretext of alleged existence of chemical weapons [there]. And we know what the outcome was. We do not want replay of such scenarios and do not want [anyone] looking for such pretexts to invade sovereign states," Matvienko told reporters.

    According to Matvienko, Russia calls for conducting a thorough investigation into the Idlib chemical incident before blaming any party to the Syrian conflict for that.

    "We discussed the latest US cruise missile strike in Syria. I would like to say that Russia strongly opposes any cases of using chemical weapons but we believe that before accusing anyone, it is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation by a special organization [monitoring] deployment of chemical weapons with the participation of experts from third countries, the United Nations, with visiting the site in order to confirm the fact of usage of chemical weapons, determine, who is responsible and take strict punitive measures," Matvienko said.

    On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the latest US missile strikes in Syria brought to mind the United States' UN Security Council address in 2003 that led to the invasion of Iraq.

    In 2003, the United States and its allies invaded Iraq and overthrew the country’s president, Saddam Hussein, which resulted in more than a decade of instability in the Middle East country. The United States justified the invasion by accusing Iraq of developing weapons of mass destruction prohibited in the country after the 1990-1991 Gulf War, but after overthrowing Hussein the United States failed to prove their accusations.

    On April 4, a chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib province claimed the lives of some 80 people and inflicted harm on an additional 200 civilians. The Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as well as a number of Western states, accused the Syrian government troops of carrying out the attack, while Damascus has refuted these allegations, saying that it did not possess chemical weapons.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.

    Putin said April 6 that groundless accusations in the chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib were unacceptable before the investigation into the matter had been carried out.

    However, the incident was used as pretext for US missile strike against the Ash Sha’irat airbase carried out late on April 6. US President Donald Trump characterized the strike as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government troops while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was a violation of the international law.


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    Valentina Matvienko, Syria, Iraq, Russia
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