First Published: 2013-09-04

 

Putin demands West present 'convincing' proof of Syria chemical attack

 

Russian President says Moscow will act in most decisive way if there is clear proof who was behind chemical attack.

 

Middle East Online

Show me the evidence

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday urged the West to present convincing evidence of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria to the UN Security Council, saying Moscow would react decisively if it was proven who was behind the crime.

In an interview with state-run Channel One television ahead of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg this week, Putin warned the West that military action against the Syrian regime without UN Security Council backing would be considered an "aggression".

Asked whether Russia would agree with US-led military strikes if it was proven that the Syrian regime had carried out the chemical attack outside Damascus on August 21, Putin replied: "I do not exclude that."

But he said the West still needed to put forward watertight proof of the circumstances of the attack, which some Russian officials have blamed on rebels.

"If there is evidence that chemical weapons were used, and by the regular army,... then this evidence must be presented to the UN Security Council. And it must be convincing," Putin said.

If there was clear proof of what weapons were used and who used them, Russia "will be ready to act in the most decisive and serious way," Putin said.

But he said it would be unacceptable for the West to go ahead with military action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad without the assent of the UN Security Council, where Russia has veto-wielding permanent membership.

"Only the UN Security Council can give approval for the use of force against another state," Putin said.

"Any other ways to justify the use of force against another sovereign and independent state are unacceptable and cannot be qualified as anything other than aggression," Putin said.

In an interview apparently aimed at presenting a more pragmatic face to the world ahead of the G20 summit, Putin confirmed that Russia had delivered some components of sophisticated S-300 missile systems to Syria.

But he revealed for the first time deliveries had now been halted.

"We have delivered separate components but the whole delivery has not been completed and for the moment we have suspended it," Putin said.

 

Egypt delays Gaza talks after Israeli soldier kidnap

Libya jihadists declare Benghazi ‘Islamic emirate’

Morocco king deplores unequal wealth distribution

US plans largest ever sale of lethal missiles to Iraq

Qatar invests in Israeli soccer

Lebanon suspends work permits for Ebola-hit countries

Emirates Airline suspends flights to Guinea

Baghdad bomb blasts kill at least ten

Identification of Air Algerie crash victims ‘could take years’

Philippines prepares to evacuate 13,000 citizens from Libya

Jihadists fight on more than one front in Syria

Sudan Christian woman chooses US as final destination to settle down

France moves to disband violent Jewish group

Chief of Iran Quds Force ridicules calls to disarm Hamas

US supports Israel with weapons, Gaza with sweet words

Syria Kurds battle jihadists killing nearly 50

West watches post-Gathafi Libya descend in chaos

Carnage in Gaza Strip as death toll passes 1,300

Mosul’s residents rise up against jihadists

Militants fire at Tunisia army helicopter

Islamists capture key Benghazi army base

16 killed in Israeli shelling of UN school in Gaza

Italian fire-fighting planes to come to Libya rescue

Syria rebels advance towards Hama military airport

Bloodshed in Gaza surges amid no truce

Major western powers call for Libya ceasefire

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’