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Russia claims it has ‘irrefutable’ evidence chemical attack was staged by foreign intelligence

MOSCOW claimed today to have “irrefutable” evidence that an alleged chemical attack in Syria was staged by foreign intelligence agents pursuing a “Russophobic campaign.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference that an unnamed country was leading a campaign against Russia.

“We have irrefutable evidence that it was another staging and the special services of a state which is in the forefront of the Russophobic campaign had a hand in the staging,” he said.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov accused Britain of staging the attack.

“We have … evidence that proves Britain was directly involved in organising this provocation,” he said.

Mr Lavrov warned that a strike against Syria risked a similar outcome to previous wars in Libya and Iraq.

“God forbid something adventurous will be undertaken in Syria similar to the Libyan or Iraqi experience … I hope nobody dares to,” he said.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres told an emergency security council meeting that the Middle East is in “chaos” and the cold war is “back with a vengeance,” while urging countries to “act responsibly in these dangerous circumstances.”

The United States, Britain and France remain poised for war against Syria, though widespread opposition remains among the international community.

Russia has insisted that any attack on Syria would amount to a war crime and has warned the US that air strikes would risk starting a deadly conflict.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out joining military strikes against Syria, although she stressed her support for “everything that is being done to show that the use of chemical weapons is not acceptable.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Athens would also stay out of any US-led military operation against Syria.

US intelligence is said to be assessing the evidence before deciding on its next course of action, although Washington favours regime change in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power.

However, it has failed to build a convincing case for war, with no independent evidence that the Syrian government used chlorine gas against civilians in Douma.

So far, the only sources for the claim remain those operating in jihadist-controlled areas, including the White Helmets aid group, a US-funded organisation with links to Isis militants.

A team from the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is due to carry out an investigation in Douma this weekend.

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