Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry last week flatly denied Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski’s statement that Moscow has “additional reasons to feel responsible for the Syrian chemical arsenal, as it was built thanks to Russian technology.”
Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski has come under fire from Moscow for his accusation that Russia is partly to blame for Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons
Courtesy of The World Economic Forum
In the late-August interview with Le Monde where he made the statement, Mr Sikorski also said that, “If Russia, which opposes carrying out a military intervention in Syria, declared to take responsibility for securing that arsenal, it would make a difference.”
Moscow’s denial was categorical. “There is nothing more distant from reality than a belief that it was Russian technologies, rather than Western ones, that built the foundation for the Syrian chemical industry in the 70s and 80s,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.
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In response to the Russian ministry’s statements, Mr Sikorski said at a press conference that “many countries, including the old Soviet Union, had their role in building the Syrian chemical arsenal.”
The Polish foreign minister’s Twitter account then published links to documents including a declassified CIA report, which clearly stated that the Soviet Union played a significant role in building Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a Russian government daily, waded into the issue, stating, “Mr Sikorski probably thought long and hard about how to differentiate himself from the chorus of EU politicians who with every passing day understand better what would be the catastrophic consequences for international relations of a US attack on Syria without the permission of the United Nations.”
Count out Poland though
Although Poland has said it will not take part in any eventual military operation in Syria, it has condemned what Mr Sikorski said was “most probably the use by the Assad regime of chemical weapons.”
The foreign minister also said that in his opinion, US President Barack Obama had decided to consult the US Congress on a possible strike in Syria to give Russia and China a chance to “evolve their positions.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been among the loudest critics of a possible US intervention in Syria. He has described the accusations leveled against the Assad regime of chemical weapons use as “absolute nonsense.”
Last week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize the use of US military force against Syria, the first in a series of votes as Mr Obama’s request makes its way through select congressional committees. It will then come before the two chambers of the US Congress – the House of Representatives and the Senate – for a final vote, which could take place this week.
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