During a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting, Russia rejected France’s proposal to the launch of an independent investigation due to an alleged chemical attack that struck the former rebel-held town of Douma in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.
The UNSC was called for to discuss the investigation. The rejection on Tuesday was made during the sixth UNSC emergency meeting on Syria since the suspected chemical attack claimed at least 85 lives on April 7, according to medical personnel.
The alleged attacked received a response with “triple assaults” by the US, France and the UK, who coordinated strikes on three presumed chemical facilities run by the government.
The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, said that the idea of establishing a mechanism to determine responsibility for the use of chemical weapons is “futile” since Washington and its allies already identified who the “culprits” are behind the gas attacks, referencing the US-led attack on Syria.
The UNSC meeting was called by Russia to discuss the humanitarian situation in Raqqa, which has been under the control of Syrian Democratic Forces. The area was under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) last year and SDF reclaimed it from them.
The Russian ambassador laid blame on the United States and members of its coalition fighting ISIL in the region for the all the destruction of Raqqa.
Kelly Currie, the deputy US ambassador for economic and social affairs, described Russia’s call as an attempt to deter focus away from the “atrocities” committed by the Syrian government.
Both Russia and its ally, the government of President Bashar al-Assad, have denied using any chemical weapons during their war against armed opposition groups in Syria.
The United Nations security team was allowed to access and visit Douma on Tuesday, but a fact-finding mission for the chemical weapons to probe the site of the alleged attack is still awaiting entry.
The inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) arrived in Syria a few days ago to gain entry to the site but were forced to postpone their entry to the site due to the reported gunfire, according to a UN source.
The delay was made after Syria’s United Nations Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari told UNSC members that the OPCW would begin probing the alleged poison gas attack on Wednesday.
Nebenzia also pointed out that the West’s military actions have set aside any possibility of a political solution to Syria’s ongoing war.
“Before the air strikes, we noted the readiness of the Syrian government to participate in the Geneva negotiations,” Nebenzia said.
“Now, these efforts have been set back considerably.”
The remarks by the ambassador came as French ambassador Francois Delattre and British ambassador Karen Pierce urged the council to restart UN-brokered peace talks.