07:12 GMT21 June 2021
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    Russia does not consider it necessary to take part in the chemical weapons investigation in the Syrian city of Douma; Moscow's task is to help provide working conditions for the OPCW experts, Vladimir Ermakov, the director of the department of nonproliferation and arms control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said.

    Russia will be ready to accept the results of the OPCW investigation in the Syrian city of Douma, if it is conducted in a qualified manner, Vladimir Ermakov said.

    "And why should Moscow participate in this investigation? It is conducted by qualified experts of the OPCW. Russia's task is to provide them with working conditions if possible," Vladimir Ermakov told Sputnik.

    "They are under pressure because the United States made the decision in advance that (Syrian President Bashar Assad) should be removed," Ermakov added.

    According to him, this decision was made in 2011, when the US announced that they would begin military operations against Assad if he used chemical weapons.

    READ MORE: Syria Invites OPCW to Probe Alleged Chemical Attack in E Ghouta — Reports

    "They are all driven by this decision, which was taken in 2011. They need a provocation using chemical weapons, then they start airstrikes. It already [happened] twice. Last year after the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun. And now in Douma," he added.

    Earlier, reports have emerged about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, published by an online Syrian opposition news portals on April 7, claiming that a chemical attack took place in Syria in the city of Douma near Damascus.

    Reacting to the reports, the United States and the European Union said the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad was behind the attack.

    Moscow has called the news reports about the attack "hoaxes" and warned against military attacks against Syrian areas where Russian troops are deployed. The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria representatives inspected the location of the alleged attack and questioned local doctors, who said that they had not received individuals with symptoms of any chemical poisoning.

    The Issue of Nuclear Non-Proliferation

    Moscow will consider the possibility of extending the START treaty only after the United States has fulfilled all its obligations under the existing treaty, the director of Russian Foreign Ministry's department for nonproliferation and arms control, Vladimir Ermakov, told Sputnik on Monday.

    "It would be possible to talk about the possibility of extending the START Treaty for another five years only when the US fulfills its obligations under the existing treaty. At present, the Americans are not doing that," Ermakov said.

    Ermakov went on to say that the development of new Russian weapons is a normal process; Russia was forced to respond to the aggravating global situation.

    "Russia does not threaten anyone with anything. The development of arsenals is a normal process for an ordinary state. We were forced to react to the aggravation of the situation in the world," he added.

    He said the US actions threaten the integrity of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

    "What really threatens the NPT and many other agreements is the Americans' stubborn unwillingness to comply with articles 1 and 2 [of NPT] and the continuation of so-called nuclear sharing, when the United States actually forces non-nuclear NATO states to participate in training to practice nuclear strikes on Russia."


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    chemical attack, UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Douma, Syria, Russia
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