'Invented' Syria chemical attack doesn't justify U.S. strikes, Russia says

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Russia's claims that the chemical weapons attack was staged by the Syrian rescue group the White Helmets.

The United States invented the reports of a chemical attack in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Wednesday by TASS news agency, adding that this could not be used as a justification for U.S. strikes on Syrian government targets.


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The Kremlin also took a stab at U.S. President Donald Trump‘s use of  “Twitter diplomacy” after he used the social media platform to warn Russia of imminent military action in Syria, the Interfax news agency reported.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying that care should be taken not to aggravate the situation in Syria.

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“We do not participate in Twitter diplomacy,” Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax. “We support serious approaches. We continue to believe that it is important not to take steps that could harm an already fragile situation.”

Meanwhile, the Russian military said on Wednesday it was closely watching the situation around Syria and was aware of the movements of a U.S. naval strike force headed for the Gulf.


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The U.S. Navy said on Tuesday that the strike group, headed by the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, would set sail for the Middle East and Europe on Wednesday.

The Russian military said the U.S. strike force was due to arrive in the Middle East at the start of May.

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“We are attentively tracking the situation unfolding around Syria and in the whole region,” the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

It also reacted to a warning of imminent military action in Syria from U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Instead of talking about the coalition’s readiness to fire missiles at Syria, the United States would do better to rebuild the destroyed city (of Raqqa) and provide wide-ranging help to its suffering population,” the ministry said in a statement.

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It repeated its assertion that a suspected chemical weapons attack carried out in the Syrian town of Douma had been faked by the “White Helmets” organization, rejecting Western allegations that Syrian government forces were responsible for it.

Russian military police would enter Douma on Thursday, the ministry said.

— Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Denis Pinchuk. Editing by Christian Lowe, Andrew Osborn, and Robin Pomeroy

© 2018 Reuters

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