Russia and Great Britain went back and forth on Friday about the recent chemical attack in Syria that is suspected of killing dozens of adults and children, as the Russian military claimed the U.K. “staged” the attack – but Britain’s U.N. ambassador called the accusation “a blatant lie.”
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Friday that the U.K. was “directly involved in the provocation,” but did not elaborate, the Associated Press reported.
Britain’s U.N. ambassador, Karen Pierce, not long after responded and said Russia’s statement was “a blatant lie,” and called it “bizarre.”
Pierce said she wanted “to state categorically … that Britain has no involvement and would never have any involvement in the use of a chemical weapon.”
Britain’s UN ambassador calls Russian military assertion that the UK staged a chemical attack in Syria “a blatant lie.” https://t.co/UyMb5sdcva
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 13, 2018
The chemical weapons attack over the weekend is suspected to have have killed dozens of children and families near Damascus in Syria, and the attack is believed to have been carried out under the direction of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia supports and backs Assad, and often sides with the country and its president.
At least 40 people and possibly as many as 70 people are reported dead in Douma, and it was reported that many of the people were “choking and foaming at the mouth.”
Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Russia should get ready because missiles will be coming “nice and new and ‘smart’” and chastised Russia for partnering with a “gas killing animal,” referring to Syrian President Assad.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it,” Trump tweeted.
The tweet came after Russia threatened the U.S. that it will attack the United States over a potential airstrike after Syria attacked its own citizens with chemical gas weapons.
Russia said reports of chemical weapons attack were untrue and “bogus,” despite monitoring watch groups describing the horror on the ground – including children and adults foaming at the mouth.
Russia has since aggressively threatened the United States if it were to fire any missiles at Syria in response to the chemical gas attacks.
On Tuesday, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon said: “U.S. missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites targeted.” And Russian Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov also warned the U.S. Tuesday, if it were to launch airstrikes against Syria.
Horrifying footage made its way around the world this week showing Syrian children being treated, some on the verge of death, after being attacked with chemical gas weapons.
“The first thing we have to look at is why chemical weapons are still being used at all,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Monday. “Russia was the framework guarantor of removing all the chemical weapons, and so working with our allies and partners, from NATO to Qatar and elsewhere, we are going to address this issue.”
Russia later in the week vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have allowed for an investigation into the chemical attacks and would have subsequently held Syria responsible for the attacks.
At the U.N., U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley forcefully condemned Assad.
“Chemical weapons have once again been used on Syrian men, women and children,” Haley said, pointing out that it was only one year ago that she had held up pictures of dead Syrian children following a chemical attack that killed nearly 100 people.
“Who does this? Only a monster does this,” Haley said. “Only a monster targets civilians and then ensures that there are no ambulances to transfer the wounded, no hospitals to save their lives, no doctors or medicine to ease their pain. I could hold up pictures of all of this killing and suffering for the council to see. But what would be the point? The monster who is responsible for these attacks has no conscience.”
Haley targeted Iran and Russia for enabling the Syrian regime.
“The Russian regime, whose hands are also covered in the blood of Syrian children, cannot be shamed by pictures of its victims,” she said. “We’ve tried that before.”
“Russia and Iran have military advisers at the Assad regime’s airfields and operations centers. Russian officials are on the ground helping direct the regime’s ‘starve and surrender’ campaigns, and Iranian allied forces do much of the dirty work. When the Syrian military pummels civilians, they rely on the military hardware given by Russia. Russia could stop this senseless slaughter, if it wanted. But it stands with the Assad regime and supports it without hesitation. What’s the point of trying to shame such people? After all, no civilized government would have anything to do with Assad’s murderous regime,” Haley said.
President Trump has called the attack “sick” and said that there is a “a big price to pay” for those responsible for the attack.
“We are beyond showing pictures of dead babies. We are beyond appeals to conscience. We have reached the moment when the world must see justice done. History will record this as the moment when the Security Council either discharged its duty or demonstrated its utter and complete failure to protect the people of Syria. Either way, the United States will respond,” Haley said.
Also on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Israel bombed a Syrian military base in response to the chemical attacks. The airstrikes killed 14 people, including fighters from Iran, according to a conflict monitoring group.