Russia may have tampered with chemical attack site: US envoy

Most rockets in Western attacks on Syria were intercepted – Russia

After six weeks of heavy fighting and an estimated 1,700 civilian deaths in the Eastern Ghouta region, the Syrian government is now said to have control of the area, which lies just outside of Damascus.

"Russia is our most capable hostile adversary in cyberspace", said Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of Britain's NCSC.

Western governments called on Russian Federation and Syria to give unfettered access to Douma, the site of the alleged attack. Consequently, the anxiety in Moscow centered on the possibility of strikes on Russian assets or advisors (Gazeta.ru, April 12). And the World Health Organization reported around 500 people during the attack experienced "symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals".

The Russian military has also made belligerent statements, but Putin himself and the Moscow foreign ministry have instead played the injured party, demanding proof of Assad's culpability. He didn't elaborate or name the state.

Last month Britain blamed Russian Federation for a nerve agent attack on an ex-spy and his daughter, accusations Russian Federation has vehemently denied.

The U.S. president, who has tried to build good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had sharply critical words for both Russia and Iran, which have backed Assad's government.

According to a statement by the French presidency, Macron called for dialogue between France and Russian Federation to "continue and intensify" to bring peace and stability to Syria. The Kremlin said that Mr Putin warned against rushing to blame the Syrian government before conducting a "thorough and objective probe".

Russian government-sponsored hackers are compromising the key hardware of government and business computer networks in like routers and firewalls, giving them virtual control of data flows, the United States and Britain warned Monday.

Mr Putin and Mr Macron instructed their foreign and defence ministers to maintain close contact to "de-escalate the situation", the Kremlin said.

Putin issued a short statement condemning the "aggressive act against a sovereign state", which essentially meant Russian Federation was not going to take any steps to support al-Assad except for calling a predictably useless meeting of the UN Security Council (Kremlin.ru, April 14).

In response to the US military action, Russia's ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in a statement that Russian Federation had warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences".

Iran's pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani also warned that the US-led missile attack on Syria would lead to further destruction in the Middle East.

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Moscow, he said, has "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication".

"Again, we are being threatened".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday (April 16) denied allegations made by the USA envoy to the global chemical weapons watchdog that Russia may have tampered with the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma.

Chemical weapons attacks are suspected to have taken place in Syria before.

The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Assad regime for the alleged chemical attack, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated a strong warning to the West against military action in Syria.

US allies have offered strong words of support for Washington but no clear military plans have yet emerged.

"A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad", the President said.

But the Syria conflict is a complex web of overlapping wars which have drawn in several world powers, and the risk of miscalculation is as high as Trump's Twitter rhetoric is provocative.

In Geneva, U.N. war crimes investigators condemned on Friday the suspected use of chemical weapons in Douma and called for evidence to be preserved with a view to future prosecutions.

In February this year, United States forces working alongside Kurdish militia in the east of Syria clashed with regime forces and killed scores of Russians working as mercenaries.

Lavrov said Russian Federation expects the OPCW team to quickly visit the site.

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