US says Russia complicit in Syrian WMD attack

NY Post:
President Trump’s top diplomat will accuse Russia of complicity in Syria’s war crimes during a face-to-face meeting in Moscow this week with Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister, it was reported Sunday.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will demand that Russia yank its support from Bashar al-Assad’s bloody dictatorship over Syria, where hundreds of thousands of innocents have died in a savage 6-year-old civil war, the Sunday Times of London reported.

Tillerson will confront Russia with evidence that it knew about — and tried to conceal — Assad’s sarin strike last week that killed 87 people, the paper said.

Tillerson will also charge Russia with breaking its 2013 agreement to oversee the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, saying Moscow has “clearly failed in its responsibility” to eliminate the deadly arsenal.

In a Saturday phone call with Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied that the Syrian military had used chemical weapons in the attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in Idlib province, on Tuesday.

Lavrov said that “an attack on a country whose government fights terrorism only plays into the hands of extremists,” according to a statement from the Russian ministry.

The US and Britain strongly signaled Putin that Assad’s actions can no longer be tolerated.

The trans-Atlantic allies this weekend were composing a plan to demand that Russia halt military support for Assad and let Syria transition to a new government.
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There is more.

It will be interesting to see what the evidence is that Russia knew about the attack and tried to conceal it.  I suspect it may involve intercepts of Russian and Syrian communications.  It follows that if they knew about the WMD and tried to conceal it, they would be in violation of their 2013 agreement.  Russias has not been confronted by this kind of evidence since the former Soviet Union was confronted with the photos of missile installations in Cuba during the missile crisis.

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