Russia says US chemical weapons claims 'unconvincing'
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry (AFP)
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Information on alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that was provided by the United States to Russia “does not look convincing,” President Vladimir Putin's senior foreign policy adviser said on Friday.
“What was presented by the Americans does not look convincing to us,” Yury Ushakov told reporters at a press conference.
Ushakov also said that Washington's decision to expand U.S. military support for Assad's opponents undermines joint efforts to organize a peace conference.
“Of course if the Americans truly decide and in reality provide more large-scale assistance to rebels, assistance to the opposition, it won't make the preparation of the international conference easier,” he added.
He also noted that Moscow was “not yet” considering sending Assad S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems in response.
The news comes after the White House promised to provide "military support" to Syrian rebel forces on Thursday after it had concluded the Assad regime used nerve gas against citizens and crossed what President Barack Obama had called a ‘red line.’
The Obama administration said it has provided Russia with the proof and the subject will be discussed at an upcoming G8 summit.
Britain has meanwhile said that it agrees with the United States' assessment that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons and called for a "strong, determined" response from the international community.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would be discussing that response "urgently" with the United States, France and other countries.
Earlier, a report by the New York Times said U.S. and European intelligence experts concluded that army of Assad has used chemical weapons against his people.
“The “intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year,” the Times reported, citing an “an internal memorandum circulating inside the government.”
President Obama said in April that there was evidence that gas Sarin was used in Syria but there was not enough proof. “He now believes that the proof is definitive,” the Times quoted American officials as saying.
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