Putin berates Netanyahu for “groundless” accusations on Syria gas incident

Day after PM publicly blamed the Assad regime for murder of scores, including children, using Sarin nerve gas, Putin calls Netanyahu to reprimand him

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu © Mikhail MetzelTASS
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that Netanyahu “called Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed his condolences following the attack in St. Petersburg as well as deep shock over the casualties in Idlib.”

He also told Putin that “the international community must complete the effort to cleanse Syria of chemical weapons as agreed in 2013.”

Earlier, it was reported that Putin reprimanded Netanyahu and told him that his accusations of chemical weapons attack in Syria were unfounded and inconceivable.

The statement said Putin had “highlighted that it was unacceptable to make groundless accusations against anyone without conducting a detailed and unbiased investigation.”

Scores were reported killed by a suspected Syrian government chemical attack in Idlib province and the US government has suggested forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were responsible. Russia has said it was too early to accuse the Syrian government and called for an investigation.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, had earlier warned the West against rushing to blame Syrian President Bashar Assad for the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. He said the West lacks objective evidence against Assad, adding that materials presented by local activists can’t serve as a proof.

Russia has said the toxic gas was released when Syrian airstrikes hit a rebel arsenal containing chemical weapons. US and other Western officials have blamed the attack on Syrian government forces.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) addressed the chemical weapons massacre, denouncing the idleness of the international community in response to the Syrian crisis.

Speaking to Yedioth Ahronoth, Lieberman said that “the two murderous chemical weapons attacks on civilians in the Idlib region in Syria and on the local hospital were carried out by direct and premeditated order of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Syrian planes. I say this with 100 percent certainty.”

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