Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is sympathetic to Syrian leadership, is among those rejecting U.S. intelligence claims that Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons against civilians, saying it would be “utter nonsense” for the government to deploy them in a war it was already winning.
“That is why I am convinced that [the chemical attack] is nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict, and who want to win the support of powerful members of the international arena, especially the United States,” Putin told journalists in Vladivostok, according to The Guardian.
The Russian president said Barack Obama, who is pushing for an attack on Syria, should present his case to the United Nations Security Council. He added that if Obama was worthy of his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, he would consider the welfare of the possible victims of an attack.
U.N. inspectors left Syria on Saturday after investigating the gas attack, which killed hundreds of civilians. Meanwhile, Obama officials said they were planning a limited attack to punish what they allege was Assad’s “brutal and flagrant” assault.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Barack Obama said the US, which has destroyers equipped with cruise missiles in the region, was planning a “limited, narrow” response that would not involve boots on the ground or be open-ended.
Russia responded by saying US threats to use military force against Syria were unacceptable and that Washington would be violating international law if it acted without the approval of the UN security council.
Putin said world powers should discuss the Syrian crisis at a meeting of the leaders of the Group of 20 developed and developing nations in St Petersburg next week. “This (G20 summit) is a good platform to discuss the problem. Why not use it?”
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