Moscow has evidence that terrorists used sarin in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun in April, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Weapons Control Department, Mikhail Ulyanov stated at a news conference on Tuesday.
“We are keeping a close watch on the situation. There is a huge amount of evidence implicating the terrorists, who set off a sarin bomb ‘on the ground’ for provocative purposes, knowing the blame would be pinned on Damascus,” he specified.
Experts refuse to visit the scene of the alleged April 4 chemical attack in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun although the security situation allowed this, he went on.
The diplomat said “this arouses indignation” that neither investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact-Finding Mission nor experts from the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism have visited Khan Sheikhoun and the Shayrat airbase.
“They are refusing to do this,” Ulyanov stressed. “But according to our data, the security situation permits access to this area,” he added.
“A report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism on Khan Sheikhoun and Shairat (air base) will come on October 26. We will study this report, will assess its quality and how serious the investigation was or whether this was once again far-removed from reality. Then we will be able to draw conclusions, as the mandate expires in mid-November, and we will determine whether there is any sense in extending it,” the diplomat explained.
“If this is a sham as it has been the case up until now, there won’t be much motivation for extending the mandate,” Ulyanov stressed. “If the investigation proves to be efficient, this is a different story. So, at the moment it is premature to pass judgement,” he added.
Experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) claimed that chemical agents were used, among other things, in the city of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. According to OPCW experts, sarin or another similar nerve agent was sprayed in the city on that day.