Featured image: Director Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Weapons Control Department, Mikhail Ulyanov (Source: U.S. Mission Photo/Eric Bridiers)
The Director Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Weapons Control Department, Mikhail Ulyanov spoke to reporters at a press conference on Tuesday with new insights into the chemical incident this spring. Counter to the narrative supplied by the UN, Ulyanov claims the Russian government has evidence this event was orchestrated by “rebels” in the Khan Sheikhoun.
According to Ulyanov, the Russian government is “keeping a close watch on the situation. There is an enormous 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.” This is a suspicion shared by many opponents of the “Syrian opposition,” and for good reason.
There’s a long list of reasons to be suspicious of the US verdict on the Khan Sheikhoun attack, a main one being that the US had publicly stated they no longer intended on removing Assad the day before. Another fact taken into account is that no investigators from any independent bodies have been able to reach the site of the incident (inside ‘rebel’ territory), supposedly out of fear for investigators safety.
However, in Ulyanov’s words, this is a cheap excuse, and in reality, inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are “refusing” to visit. Ulyanov says the OPCW’s position “arouses indignation” and that “according to our data, the security situation permits access to” the site of the attack.”
While the UN has pretty much stated which way their investigation is leaving, Ulyanov was fair, saying he would wait until the full results were released at the end of next month. Ulyanov stated that the official Russian position would be to wait and “study this report, will assess its quality and how serious the investigation was or whether this was once again far-removed from reality.”
Ulyanov also addressed the OPCW’s preliminary inquiries and program of chemical weapons removal that was started by an agreement between Russia and the Obama regime after the East Ghouta chemical attack pinned on Assad in 2013. Ulyanov stressed that Damascus is in fact in full compliance with this agreement. Which is another reason to doubt US claims on Khan Sheikhoun.
According to the Director, the truth is that
“not a single violation by Syria, no one has ever found any chemical substances concealed from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”
He also said that the statements from the OPCW that run counter to this are, in reality, measures being taken to achieve “political goals, as a means of putting pressure on Damascus.”
In 2013, the OPCW received a Nobel Peace Prize for their removal of chemical weapons elements from Syria. This prize was held up as an example of global cooperation yet now the organization, and their UN partners seem to be backtracking, despite the OPCW saying all chemical weapons were removed from Syria last year.