Russian President Vladimir Putin today issued a statement accusing the United States and its Allies of committing an act of aggression and claiming Russian military experts did not find any traces of toxic agents in Douma.
Kremlin Statement: On April 14, the United States, supported by its allies, launched an airstrike against military and civilian targets in the Syrian Arab Republic. An act of aggression against a sovereign state that is on the frontline in the fight against terrorism was committed without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN Charter and norms and principles of international law.
Just as one year ago, when the Shayrat Airbase in Syria came under attack, the US used as a pretext a staged chemical attack against civilians, this time in Douma, a Damascus suburb. Having visited the site of the would-be chemical attack, Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent. Not a single local resident was able to confirm that a chemical attack had actually taken place.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons dispatched its experts to Syria in order to investigate all the circumstances. However, in a sign of cynical disdain, a group of Western countries decided to take military action without waiting for the results of the investigation.
Russia condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack against Syria, where Russian military personnel are assisting the legitimate government in its counterterrorism efforts.
Through its actions, the US makes the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria even worse and brings suffering to civilians. In fact, the US panders to the terrorists who have been tormenting the Syrian people for seven years, leading to a wave of refugees fleeing this country and the region.
The current escalation around Syria is destructive for the entire system of international relations. History will set things right, and Washington already bears the heavy responsibility for the bloody outrage in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya.
Russia will convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the aggressive actions by the US and its allies.
Subsequently: The Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy, held a briefing for mass media:-
The US alongside its allies conducted a missile strike by its air and naval carriers targeting military and civil facilities of the Syrian Arab Republic on April 14 in the period from 3.42 am till 5.10 am (MSK). The Russian air defence systems at the Khmeimim and Tartus air base timely located and controlled all naval and air launches made by the USA and the UK. Announced French aircraft have not been registered by the Russian air defence systems.
It is reported that the B-1B, F-15 and F-16 aircraft of the USAF as well as the Tornado airplanes of the UK RAF over the Mediterranean Sea, and the USS Laboon and USS Monterey located in the Red Sea were used during the operation.
The B-1B strategic bombers approached the facilities over the Syrian territory near al-Tanf illegally seized by the USA. A number Syrian military airfields, industrial and research facilities suffered the missile-bomb strike. As preliminary reported, there are no civilian casualties and losses among the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). Information will be further specified and made public.
As evident by the available data, 103 cruise missiles have been launched, including Tomahawk naval-based missiles as well as GBU-38 guided air bombs fired from the B-1B; the F-15 and F-16 aircraft launched air-to-surface missiles. The Tornado airplanes of the UK RAF launched eight Scalp EG missiles.
The Syrian air defence systems, which are primarily the USSR-made AD systems, have successfully countered the air and naval strikes. In total, 71 cruise missiles have been intercepted. The S-125, S-200, Buk, Kvadrat, and Osa Syrian AD systems were involved in repelling the attack. It proves high efficiency of the Syrian armament and professional skills of the Syrian servicemen trained by the Russian specialists.Over the last eighteen months, Russia has completely recovered the Syrian air defence systems, and continues its development.
It is to be stressed that several years ago given the strong request by our western partners, Russia opted out of supplying the S-300 AD systems to Syria. Taking into account the recent incident, Russia believes it possible to reconsider this issue not only regarding Syria but other countries as well.
The strike targeted Syrian air bases as well. Russia has registered the following data. Four missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport; 12 missiles – the Al-Dumayr airdrome, all the missiles have been shot down. 18 missiles targeted the Blai airdrome, all the missiles shot down. 12 missiles targeted the Shayrat air base, all the missiles shot down. Air bases were not affected by the strike. Five out of nine missiles were shot down targeting the unoccupied Mazzeh airdrome. Thirteen out of sixteen missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome. There are no heavy destructions.
In total 30 missiles targeted facilities near Barzah and Jaramana. Seven of them have been shot down. These facilities allegedly relating to the so-called ‘Damascus military chemical programme’ were partially destructed. However, the objects have not been used for a long time, so there were no people and equipment there.
The Russian air defence systems have been alerted. Fighter jets are on combat air patrol now. There were no cruise missiles entering the Russian AD responsibility area. The Russian air defence systems were not applied.
Russia considers the strike to be a response to the success of the Syrian Armed Forces in fighting international terrorism and liberating its territory, rather than a response to the alleged chemical attack. Besides, the attack took place on a day when the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) special mission was to start working on investigating incident in the city of Douma where chemical attack allegedly occurred. It is to be stressed that there are no facilities on producing chemical weapons in Syria, and this has been documented by the OPCW.
The American aggression proves that the USA is not interested in objectivity of the ongoing investigation, seeks to wreck peaceful settlement in Syria and destabilize environment in the Middle East, and all these have nothing to do with declared objectives of countering international terrorism.
Currently the situation in Damascus and other settlements is assessed to be stable.The environment is being monitored.
[Sources: Office of the President of Russia & MoD of the Russian Federation]