Nation & World News

Putin Calls Claims Of Syrian Chemical Attack ‘Nonsense’

By Scott Neuman on August 31st, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. claims that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons “utter nonsense” and urged the White House not to launch a retaliatory strike.

Putin, speaking to reporters in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, said he was convinced that reports of a chemical attack against opponents of the Syrian regime are “nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict, and who want to win the support of powerful members of the international arena, especially the United States.”

Moscow, a key Syrian ally, has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Damascus.

The Russian leader’s remarks come after U.N. weapons inspectors left Syria, wrapping up a four-day mission to collect evidence of a suspected chemical attack, as NPR’s L. Carol Ritchie reports.

The departure of the inspectors is seen as paving the way for a possible U.S. military strike. Several cruise-missile-armed American warships are on station in the Mediterranean. Russia has also sent two naval vessels to the region.

On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama laid the groundwork for a possible strike, with Kerry saying the evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime used nerve agents against rebels and civilians on Aug. 21 was clear “and compelling.” He called Assad a “thug and murderer” and warned that without consequences, there would be “no end to the test of our resolve … It matters if nothing is done.”

The White House says 1,429 people were killed in the attack.

Update At 11:20 a.m. ET. U.N. Inspectors Head To The Netherlands

The AP and Reuters are reporting that U.N. experts that left Syria carrying blood, urine and soil samples, have arrived in the Netherlands, where the lab analysis will take place. The U.N. has said it will try to expedite its final report.

Update At 9:30 a.m. ET. Conference Call Briefings To Be Held This Afternoon

A White House official says Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Advisor Susan Rice will hold conference calls about Syria on Saturday afternoon with the Senate Democratic Caucus as well as the Senate Republican Conference, according to Reuters.

The calls, which will be unclassified, are part of “the Administration’s consultations regarding the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21,” the official said.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

A courtroom sketch shows accused murderer James Holmes sitting with Arapahoe County Public Defender Tamara Brady at the Arapahoe District Courthouse in Centennial, Colo., in January. His trial will begin with opening statements Monday.

James Holmes Trial Set To Begin In Colorado, 3 Years After Cinema Shooting

More than 1,000 days after James Holmes opened fire on an audience at a midnight movie premiere in Aurora, Colo., his trial will begin in earnest Monday.


A woman and child rest in the open outside a destroyed building Sunday, a day after a major earthquake destroyed homes in Kumalpur village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Nine people reportedly died in the small village, including four children.

More Than 3,700 Dead In Nepal As Earthquake’s Toll Rises

Aftershocks are rattling survivors’ nerves and making the recovery even more challenging. In one district, 400,000 people were affected by the quake and more than 4,000 homes are now unsafe.


Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier this month in Tokyo. Abe's visit to the U.S. this week features an agreement for the Japanese military to have a more active role.

For Japan’s Prime Minister, U.S. Visit A Chance To Elevate Image

Shinzo Abe will have a summit with President Obama, sign a security agreement and make a historic address to a joint meeting of Congress during his weeklong visit.


Putin: ‘No Regrets’ Over Crimea Annexation

In a new documentary titled The President, the Russian leader says seizing Crimea from Ukraine righted a historical wrong.


Police carry a detained man to a waiting police van after a march to City Hall for Freddie Gray, on Saturday. Authorities say 34 people were arrested in the protest over Gray, who died in police custody last week.

Baltimore Police: 34 Arrested In Freddie Gray Protest

Even with the arrests, police said Saturday’s protest over Gray — a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody after receiving a fatal spinal cord injury — was “mostly peaceful.”


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments