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MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – US accusations that Russia supplies chemical weapons to Syria are untrue and are likely being used by Washington as another justification of a possible US attack in Syria, a Russian deputy defense minister said Thursday.
“Russia always has been and will be a responsible, predictable partner and ally in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said. “We … comply with all our obligations under the chemical weapons convention, as well as the biological and toxin weapons convention.”
Speaking in testimony before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said: “There’s no secret that the Assad regime has had chemical weapons, significant stockpiles of chemical weapons.”
Pressed by a representative to name the origin of those chemical weapons, Hagel added: “The Russians supply them; others are supplying them with those chemical weapons. They make some themselves.”
Later, the Russian deputy defense minister told reporters that “I have a feeling that all these anti-Russian insinuations are aimed at one thing – at creating an additional pretext for carrying out [an act of] aggression against a sovereign state.”
Anotonov said that he was surprised by “attempts of certain states to shift responsibility” and that a US military operation in Syria would “inflict serious economic, political and environmental harm on the whole Mediterranean region.”
He added, “It’s hard for me to imagine what would happen if a missile struck a Russian warship.”
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Russia has surged ahead on the foreign policy stage, but this is not enough to remain a great power. The tough-minded policies and masterful diplomacy of Russia’s leadership have maximized the country’s position in the world, and are now the main source of its international influence and prestige. Russia’s foreign policy in the next decade depends entirely on what happens at home.