Russia has dismissed a United Nations report on the August 21 sarin gas attack in Damascus as “biased and one-sided”, saying it has Syrian-supplied evidence that shows rebels were responsible.
The Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said on Wednesday that his country was disappointed with the UN report published this week, calling it “distorted and one-sided”.
“We are disappointed, to put it mildly, about the approach taken by the UN secretariat and the UN inspectors, who prepared the report selectively and incompletely,” he said after talks with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
According to Ryabkov, the regime had given Russia material implicating rebel groups in the August 21 attack, and later stated on Russian television that it was “given to Mr [Ake] Sellstrom who headed the group of UN inspectors” but that it did not “receive adequate attention in the report.”
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said the regime’s evidence would be presented to the UN.
The UN report, released on Monday, did not ascribe blame but detailed munitions and rockets used in the August 21 attack, their likely point of origin and their capacity. One missile used could hold 56 litres of sarin gas. As little as 0.5mg of sarin can kill an adult.
The US holds Assad responsible for the August 21 attack, which it says killed 1,429 people. The regime denies responsibility and its ally Russia maintains that there is no evidence implicating Assad.
The UN later said its conclusions were beyond questioning. “The findings in that report are indisputable,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said. “They speak for themselves and this was a thoroughly objective report on that specific incident.”