Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded on Saturday the U.S. provide indisputable proof Syria employed the use of chemical weapons in an attack on the Damascus suburbs earlier this month, adding that such claims appeared to be “utter nonsense.”
“Regarding the position of our American colleagues, who affirm that government troops used… chemical weapons, and say that they have proof, well, let them show it to the United Nations inspectors and the Security Council,” Putin reportedly told journalists. “If they don’t show it, that means there is none.”
Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting on the development of civil shipbuilding in Russia’s fareastern port of Vladivostok, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Putin visits the Russian Far East where the worst flooding in 120 years has already forced about 20,000 people from their homes. (AP)
The Russian president, who has recently been at odds with President Obama, added the attack may have been a ploy to get the U.S. involved in an overseas conflict.
“[I] am convinced that [the chemical attack] is 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,” Putin reportedly said.
The Obama administration has maintained that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime was directly behind the chemical weapons attack that took place earlier this month.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter