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.

 

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

New Afghan Taliban leader named

Female Emirati pilot issues rallying cry to young women

At least 5 drown off Libya coast

Coalition airstrike kills six Yemen civilians 'by mistake'

Erdogan chairs first meeting of new Turkey cabinet

Pope prays to 'convert hearts' of ISIS extremists

Egypt expels French journalist amid crackdown on media

Israeli rights group gives up on army complaints system

Hamas-led council backs executions without Abbas approval

Syrian base used by Russia damaged in IS attack

Kurdish, Arab forces announce anti-IS offensive north of Syria's Raqa

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny

EgyptAir victims' relatives give samples for DNA tests

Iran sends new delegation to Saudi for hajj talks

Hardline cleric elected head of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Civilians trapped as Fallujah siege tightens

Iraq's Fallujah offensive draws attention from embattled PM

Turkey incoming PM unveils cabinet

US, Russia scramble to save Syria truce

Libyan coastguards intercept 550 bound for Europe

Campus bomb kills two in Yemen's Sanaa

Saudi soldier killed in landmine blast on Yemen border

Over 148 killed in IS bombings in Syria regime heartland

Iraq forces battle IS jihadists to retake Fallujah

Erdogan advisor says Turkey could suspend EU deals

Iraq launches military operation to retake Fallujah

Oil prices dip as Iran says no to output freeze

Skepticism ahead of Istanbul humanitarian summit

Sudan steps up pressure for exit of Darfur peacekeepers

UN Palestinian agency says half its schools hit by conflict

Bombs kill more than 120 in Syria regime strongholds

Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative

Gunmen kill 8 worshipers in Darfur

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

Turkey's incoming PM working on new cabinet

Israel lifts ban on Gaza cement deliveries

Yemen warring parties meet after long pause

Egypt enlists submersible to search for EgyptAir crash clues

Tunisia's Ennahda reelects Ghannouchi as party chief

At least 20 dead in Yemen suicide bombing

Syria rebels give truce brokers 48 hours to end regime offensive