News 17 april — 10:00

Russia 'not tampering' with chemical attack site


Russia has denied interfering with evidence at the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria which led to Saturday's military intervention by the US, the UK and France, BBC reports.

In an interview for BBC's Hardtalk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site."

He spoke as the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog held an urgent meeting.

Inspectors in Syria have still not gained access to Douma, it is reported.

The UK ambassador to the OPCW, Peter Wilson, quoted the organisation's director-general as saying they were still waiting.

The Swedish delegation cited a briefing from OPCW director-general that said Syria and Russia were concerned that security on the ground could not be guaranteed.

The meeting in The Hague is behind closed doors, but Reuters reported the American ambassador, Kenneth Ward, as expressing concern the Russian forces there may have tampered with evidence.

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