Moscow Ready to Provide EU Data on Chemical Attacks Violators in Syria – Envoy
Moscow is ready to provide the European Union with a list of those responsible for incidents with chemical weapons in Syria, and thereby help the bloc to put into force its newly-adopted sanctions regime for the use of chemical weapons, Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said on Thursday.
On October 15, the Council of the European Union adopted a new sanctions regime to counter the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. Under the proposed mechanism, the European Union will be able to impose sanctions on any person or entity involved in development or use of chemical weapons, regardless of their nationality and location.
“This mechanism provides for swift adoption of sanctions against violators, but the list, as they say, sanctions list, is empty at present. I do not rule out that someone wanted to fill it immediately. Basically, we can help. Our relevant agencies likely have [a list of] names of those terrorists in Syria and their coordinators, including the leadership of White Helmets, who were really involved in incidents with chemical weapons. We can help,” Chizhov told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.
When asked, whether EU nations are interested in obtaining such a list, the diplomat replied “I have not received such signals yet.”
During the seven-year war in Syria, the country has been rocked by several chemical attacks and what was presented as such. The West mostly puts the blame for the incidents on Damascus. Damascus has repeatedly denied any involvement in chemical attacks on civilians. Moreover, Syrian President Bashar Assad has emphasized that Damascus got rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles under the supervision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Both Damascus and Moscow accused militants and the White Helmets non-governmental organization of staging several provocations involving chemical weapons to influence public opinion and justify foreign intervention in Syria. In April, a staged chemical attack prompted the United States, the United Kingdom and France to strike Syria with over 100 missiles.