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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 4, 2013 9:11 AM Flag

    Putin Says Proof of Chemical Arms Attack Not Enough to Justify U.S. Action

    Putin Says Proof of Chemical Arms Attack Not Enough to Justify U.S. Action

    Published: September 4, 2013

    MOSCOW — In an interview published on Wednesday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said it seemed “completely ridiculous” for the government of President Bashar al-Assad to have used chemical weapons and that there was still not sufficient proof to justify the military strike that President Obama has asked Congress to authorize.

    Mr. Putin, speaking to The Associated Press and Russia’s government-controlled Channel 1 television network ahead of the Group of 20 summit meeting to be held this week in St. Petersburg, pointedly warned that an attack without authorization of the United Nations Security Council would be a violation of international law. The government released a transcript of the interview.

    Mr. Putin expressed doubt about the evidence presented so far by Secretary of State John Kerry and said that more “convincing” results from United Nations inspectors were needed before considering the use of force. “We do not have exact details of what happened,” he said of the situation in Syria. “Is it a chemical weapon or just some chemical pollutants?”

    He insisted, however, that it made no sense for Mr. Assad’s government to use chemical weapons given the likelihood it would provoke an international response.

    “In our view, it seems completely ridiculous that the regular armed forces, who are actually on the attack and in some places have the so-called rebels surrounded and are finishing them off, that in these conditions” would use prohibited chemical weapons, Mr. Putin said, “understanding quite well that this could be a reason for sanctions on them, including the use of force. It’s just ridiculous. It does not fit into any logic.”

    Asked if Russia might support a military strike, Mr. Putin replied, “I do not exclude it.” But he quickly warned against any action without United Nations Security Council authorization.

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