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12 Apr, 2018 16:09

‘Which one of us hasn’t wondered, is war coming?’ Moscow slams West for ‘stoking’ Syria conflict

‘Which one of us hasn’t wondered, is war coming?’ Moscow slams West for ‘stoking’ Syria conflict

Moscow has accused the West of raising tension over Syria on the basis of flimsy evidence, and says that even threats to strike the government constitute a violation of international law.

“Which one of us hasn’t asked themselves the question – is a war coming? Everything is being done to make it happen,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during a press briefing in Moscow. “Militarist statements keep coming from Washington, which threaten us with a major escalation. And the target isn’t just Damascus, but Russia because it purportedly covers for Bashar Assad and thus shares responsibility for alleged ‘war crimes’.”

READ MORE: Trump: ‘I never said when attack on Syria would take place’

Moscow’s statements come in the wake of Wednesday’s Twitter tirade by US President Donald Trump in which he told Russia to “get ready” for “nice and new and ‘smart’” American missiles. On Thursday, however, the US leader appeared to row back from the immediate threat, clarifying that he “never said when an attack on Syria would take place.”

Zakharova also criticized Washington’s insistence that Syrian government forces were to blame for the alleged chemical weapons bombardment in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, which Moscow believes was staged by Islamist militants to drag the West into war.

“How can you, being aware of the value of unverified or faked reports, decide to use force and issue international threats without having a real understanding to the situation on the ground?” asked Zakharova.

The spokesperson chastised the World Health Organization’s “irresponsible proliferation of unreliable and unsubstantiated information” for its statement declaring that 500 people had been admitted into hospitals with “signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.” Russia says that the WHO does not have its own staff in Douma, and was merely passing on disinformation from the White Helmets, and other groups Moscow believes to be associated with Islamic militants.

READ MORE: UNSC fails to pass 3 resolutions on Syria 'chem attack' as Russia calls for restraint

After the UN Security Council failed to provide a successful resolution on Syria this week, Zakharova reminded the US and France that “even the threat of force against a United Nations member is a flagrant violation of the UN charter.”

“We are hoping our partners have sufficient sense to return to diplomatic tools for resolving this conflict, within the United Nations framework,” said Zakharova.