Connect with us

RussiaFeed

News

Politics

Russia slams OPCW report on Idlib chemical attack at UN

Moscow’s ambassador stated the report blaming the Syrian government is full of holes

Published

on

0 Views

(RT) – The OPCW-UN investigation into the chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province is littered with “systemic deficiencies,” Russia’s deputy UN envoy has told the UN Security Council, reiterating that Moscow maintains the April 4 incident was staged.

On October 26, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) issued a report in which it pinned blame for the Khan Shaykhun incident on Damascus. With JIM’s mandate set to expire on November 16, Russia criticized the methodology of the UN fact-finding mission, casting doubt on the mandate’s extension.

“Without a comprehensive change it will become a tool to settle accounts with the Syrian authorities,” Russian deputy representative to the United Nations, Vladimir Safronkov, told the Security Council.

America’s UN envoy, Nikki Haley, meanwhile tried to rally other members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to renew JIM’s mandate. “Anyone who prevents us from achieving this goal is aiding and abetting those who have been using chemical weapons,” she said.

“They are helping to ensure, not just that more women and children will die, but that those women and children will die in one of the cruelest, most painful ways possible.”

After carefully reviewing the “deeply disappointing” conclusions of the probe, Moscow blasted the report which it believes is full of “systemic deficiencies” and speculation, and drawn from statements by questionable sources. Noting that JIM’s report cannot withstand any “serious criticism,” the Russian diplomat said the UN team did not even consider Moscow’s version of events, according to which the entire incident was “choreographed.”

Moscow questioned the validity of biomedical and other samples that were obtained at the scene of the alleged attack. JIM’s report, which is “full of omissions, inconsistencies and contradictions is very mediocre,” Safronkov said. “They did not comply with the basic principle of the chain of custody of the material evidence.”

Russia also accused JIM of implementing their mandate “very selectively without the use of the whole range of methods,” which requires first and foremost “collecting samples, questioning witnesses and gathering evidence directly at the site of the incident.”

The JIM mission never actually visited the site of the alleged attack, Russia pointed out, saying the experts relied on evidence collected by the militant groups controlling the area. The investigation also failed to properly inspect the Shayrat Airbase, Moscow said, explaining that while the experts visited the Syrian airfield, they did not collect ground samples there.

“OPCW worked under the assumption that sarin gas was delivered by a plane, despite failing to gather samples at the Shayrat Airbase site, after finally consenting to visit the strip,” the Russian diplomat said, emphasizing that gathering samples at the base was “crucial to determine the attribution of responsibility.”

Some of the evidence gathered by the UN team, Safronkov said, came from highly questionable sources, particularly the White Helmets group that has ties to extremists in Syria.

“OPCW’s mission was not able to obtain key material evidence. All conclusions of their work were based on indirect testimonies, most of which was provided by the opposition and by NGOs that have no credibility, such as the White Helmets which are closely associated with Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists. So to take at face value the information by White Helmets is at very least in not very good taste,” Safronkov told members of the UNSC.

The report also failed to properly explain the delivery of sarin gas to the site in Idlib, Safronkov stated, adding, that the traces left by the explosion, and the lack of fragments, suggest the bomb was placed on the ground. Safronkov pointed out that the crater in Khan Shaykhun was rectangular which is characteristic of a detonation from “a horizontal static position,” while an air dropped bomb would have left an elliptical crater.

The possibility of a staged attack is also “confirmed by the traces of burning at the surface of the cement,” the diplomat said, noting that the “edges of the crater are not turned outward [as would have been the case with the aerial bomb], and there is no ground dispersed around it.” The fact that the impact crater was filled with cement “very soon after the incident,” points to “someone really trying to destroy evidence.”

JIM’s findings, however, contradict Russia’s analysis. Presenting the conclusion of the investigation, the head of the panel, Edmond Mulet, said the experts established that sarin was dropped by a Syrian air strike, claiming the chemical used in Idlib matched those samples previously found in Syrian stockpiles. Such a composition “would be very difficult to replicate,” Mulet said.

Safronkov swiftly challenged that assumption, saying, “the chemicals could have been produced anywhere to intentionally compromise” Syrian authorities. “Admixtures found in the samples cannot be considered as unique markers which are found in the characteristic only for Syrian binary technology for producing sarin,” he elaborated further.

Safronkov also questioned some of the visual evidence referenced in the UN report, noting that the White Helmets apparently knew about the attack even before the Syrian airplane left the Shayrat Airbase. The White Helmets video at the site of the incident shows them wearing respirators and cotton gloves which cannot serve as protective gear against sarin exposure. Thus it is likely that “first an explosion was conducted, then the White Helmets made this video, and only afterward did they drop sarin,” the Russian representative pointed out.

An estimated 74-100 or more civilians were killed and hundreds were injured in the April 4 attack, according to various reports. Washington then rushed to blame Damascus based on open-source intelligence, while the Syrian government strongly denied responsibility for the incident.

On April 7, US President Donald Trump authorized the firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Shayrat, from where US intelligence said the chemical attack was launched.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Constantinople: Ukrainian Church leader is now uncanonical

October 12 letter proclaims Metropolitan Onuphry as uncanonical and tries to strong-arm him into acquiescing through bribery and force.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

The pressure in Ukraine kept ratcheting up over the last few days, with a big revelation today that Patriarch Bartholomew now considers Metropolitan Onuphy “uncanonical.” This news was published on 6 December by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (running under the Moscow Patriarchate).

This assessment marks a complete 180-degree turn by the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, and it further embitters the split that has developed to quite a major row between this church’s leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate.

OrthoChristian reported this today (we have added emphasis):

A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.

This assertion represents a negation of the position held by Pat. Bartholomew himself until April of this year, when the latest stage in the Ukrainian crisis began…

The same letter was independently published by the Greek news agency Romfea today as well.

It is dated October 12, meaning it was written just one day after Constantinople made its historic decision to rehabilitate the Ukrainian schismatics and rescind the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolitanate was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby, in Constantinople’s view, taking full control of Ukraine.

In the letter, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that after the council, currently scheduled for December 15, he will no longer be able to carry his current title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

The Patriarch immediately opens his letter with Constantinople’s newly-developed historical claim about the jurisdictional alignment of Kiev: “You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanate of Kiev has always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople…”

Constantinople has done an about-face on its position regarding Ukraine in recent months, given that it had previously always recognized the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as the sole canonical primate in Ukraine.

…The bulk of the Patriarch’s letter is a rehash of Constantinople’s historical and canonical arguments, which have already been laid out and discussed elsewhere. (See also here and here). Pat. Bartholomew also writes that Constantinople stepped into the Ukrainian ecclesiastical sphere as the Russian Church had not managed to overcome the schisms that have persisted for 30 years.

It should be noted that the schisms began and have persisted precisely as anti-Russian movements and thus the relevant groups refused to accept union with the Russian Church.

Continuing, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that his position and title are uncanonical:

Addressing you as ‘Your Eminence the Metropolitan of Kiev’ as a form of economia [indulgence/condescension—OC] and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

He also entreats Met. Onuphry to “promptly and in a spirit of harmony and unity” participate, with the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the founding council of the new Ukrainian church that Constantinople is planning to create, and in the election of its primate.

The Constantinople head also writes that he “allows” Met. Onuphry to be a candidate for the position of primate.

He further implores Met. Onuphry and the UOC hierarchy to communicate with Philaret Denisenko, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, and Makary Maletich, the heads of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” respectively—both of which have been subsumed into Constantinople—but whose canonical condemnations remain in force for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs of the Serbian and Polish Churches have also officially rejected the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics.

Pat. Bartholomew concludes expressing his confidence that Met. Onuphry will decide to heal the schism through the creation of a new church in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry’s leadership is recognized as the sole canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine by just about every other canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction besides Constantinople. Even NATO member Albania, whose expressed reaction was “both sides are wrong for recent actions” still does not accept the canonicity of the “restored hierarchs.”

In fact, about the only people in this dispute that seem to be in support of the “restored” hierarchs, Filaret and Makary, are President Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew, Filaret and Makary… and NATO.

While this letter was released to the public eye yesterday, the nearly two months that Metropolitan Onuphry has had to comply with it have not been helped in any way by the actions of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian government.

Priests of the Canonical Church in Ukraine awaiting interrogation by the State authorities

For example, in parallel reports released on December 6th, the government is reportedly accusing canonical priests in Ukraine of treason because they are carrying and distributing a brochure entitled (in English): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.

In a manner that would do any American liberal proud, these priests are being accused of inciting religious hatred, though really all they are doing is offering an explanation for the situation in Ukraine as it exists.

A further piece also released yesterday notes that the Ukrainian government rehabilitated an old Soviet-style technique of performing “inspections of church artifacts” at the Pochaev Lavra. This move appears to be both intended to intimidate the monastics who are living there now, who are members of the canonical Church, as well as preparation for an expected forcible takeover by the new “united Church” that is under creation. The brotherhood characterized the inspections in this way:

The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.

Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:

This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.

With the massive pressure both geopolitically and ecclesiastically building in Ukraine almost by the day, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they’re in power – Putin

“We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

RT

Published

on

By

Via RT…


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has branded the Ukrainian leadership a “party of war” which would continue fueling conflicts while they stay in power, giving the recent Kerch Strait incident as an example.

“When I look at this latest incident in the Black Sea, all what’s happening in Donbass – everything indicates that the current Ukrainian leadership is not interested in resolving this situation at all, especially in a peaceful way,” Putin told reporters during a media conference in the aftermath of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is a party of war and as long as they stay in power, all such tragedies, all this war will go on.

The Kiev authorities are craving war primarily for two reasons – to rip profits from it, and to blame all their own domestic failures on it and actions of some sort of “aggressors.”

“As they say, for one it’s war, for other – it’s mother. That’s reason number one why the Ukrainian government is not interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Putin stated.

Second, you can always use war to justify your failures in economy, social policy. You can always blame things on an aggressor.

This approach to statecraft by the Ukrainian authorities deeply concerns Russia’s President. “We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been soaring after the incident in the Kerch Strait. Last weekend three Ukrainian Navy ships tried to break through the strait without seeking the proper permission from Russia. Following a tense stand-off and altercation with Russia’s border guard, the vessels were seized and their crews detained over their violation of the country’s border.

While Kiev branded the incident an act of “aggression” on Moscow’s part, Russia believes the whole Kerch affair to be a deliberate “provocation” which allowed Kiev to declare a so-called “partial” martial law ahead of Ukraine’s presidential election.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

When Putin Met Bin Sally

Another G20 handshake for the history books.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


In the annals of handshake photo-ops, we just may have a new winner (much to the delight of oil bulls who are looking at oil treading $50 and contemplating jumping out of the window).

Nothing but sheer joy, delight and friendship…

…but something is missing…

Meanwhile, earlier…

Zoomed in…

And again.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending