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16 April 2018, 12:16 | Opal Carroll
AFPSergei Lavrov says Russia has proof that actors staged the alleged chemical attack in Syria
But the vote at the end of an emergency meeting called by Russian Federation also demonstrated again the paralysis of the UN's most powerful body in dealing with Syria's seven-year conflict.
Moscow strongly warned against any strikes and threatened to retaliate.
Mr Putin and Mr Macron instructed their foreign and defence ministers to maintain close contact to "de-escalate the situation", the Kremlin said.
Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow received the confidential information from the laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, that analyzed samples from the site of the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Two days ago, US President Donald Trump warned that missiles "will be coming" in response to that attack. "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world", she said.
Western powers weighed their options on Friday over possible strikes against Syria's regime as pressure built to avoid an escalation and Russian Federation stepped up its warnings against military action which it said could lead to "war".
A Russian bid for the United Nations Security Council to condemn U.S., British and French air strikes on Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack failed on Saturday after only China and Bolivia joined Russia to vote in favor of a draft resolution. The ministry additionally pointed to previous alleged use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops.
Russian Federation has warned the West against attacking Mr Assad, who is also supported by Iran, and said there is no evidence of a chemical attack in Douma, a town near Damascus which had been held by rebels until this month.
Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated a strong warning to the West against military action in Syria.
He noted that the Russian and US militaries have a hotline to prevent incidents, adding that it's not clear if it would be sufficient amid mounting tensions.
Trump on Friday night announced that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for alleged chemical weapons use and to prevent him from doing it again.
The capture of Douma has clinched a major victory for Mr Assad, crushing what was once a centre of the insurgency near Damascus, and underlines his unassailable position in the war, which entered its eighth year last month.
The investigators, who are only mandated to determine if chemical weapons were used and not who used them, were expected to start their investigations into the Douma incident on Saturday, the Netherlands-based organization said.
"The sole thing that they have an interest in is to oust the Syrian government and to deter, contain the Russian Federation", he added.
Douma and the sprawling eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, had been under rebel control since 2012 and was a thorn in the side of Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years.
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