Russia to UN Security Council: Report on Chemical Attack in Syria Is Full of "Systemic Deficiencies"

from Russia Insider:

Which is why Russia shut down the biased attempt to railroad Syria posing as a UN investigation

The OPCW-UN investigation into the chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province is littered with “systemic deficiencies,” Russia’s deputy UN envoy has told the UN Security Council, reiterating that Moscow maintains the April 4 incident was staged.

On October 26, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) issued a report in which it pinned blame for the Khan Shaykhun incident on Damascus. With JIM’s mandate set to expire on November 16, Russia criticized the methodology of the UN fact-finding mission, casting doubt on the mandate’s extension.

“Without a comprehensive change it will become a tool to settle accounts with the Syrian authorities,” 

Russian deputy representative to the United Nations, Vladimir Safronkov, told the Security Council.

America’s UN envoy, Nikki Haley, meanwhile tried to rally other members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to renew JIM's mandate. 

“Anyone who prevents us from achieving this goal is aiding and abetting those who have been using chemical weapons,” 

she said.

“They are helping to ensure, not just that more women and children will die, but that those women and children will die in one of the cruelest, most painful ways possible.”

After carefully reviewing the “deeply disappointing” conclusions of the probe, Moscow blasted the report which it believes is full of “systemic deficiencies” and speculation, and drawn from statements by questionable sources. Noting that JIM’s report cannot withstand any “serious criticism,” the Russian diplomat said the UN team did not even consider Moscow’s version of events, according to which the entire incident was “choreographed.”

Moscow questioned the validity of biomedical and other samples that were obtained at the scene of the alleged attack. JIM’s report, which is “full of omissions, inconsistencies and contradictions is very mediocre,” Safronkov said. “They did not comply with the basic principle of the chain of custody of the material evidence.”

Russia also accused JIM of implementing their mandate “very selectively without the use of the whole range of methods,” which requires first and foremost “collecting samples, questioning witnesses and gathering evidence directly at the site of the incident.”

The JIM mission never actually visited the site of the alleged attack, Russia pointed out, saying the experts relied on evidence collected by the militant groups controlling the area. The investigation also failed to properly inspect the Shayrat Airbase, Moscow said, explaining that while the experts visited the Syrian airfield, they did not collect ground samples there.

“OPCW worked under the assumption that sarin gas was delivered by a plane, despite failing to gather samples at the Shayrat Airbase site, after finally consenting to visit the strip,” the Russian diplomat said, emphasizing that gathering samples at the base was “crucial to determine the attribution of responsibility.”

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