Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, August 31 that allegations about the Syrian government using chemical weapons against civilians were a “provocation,” according to RIA Novosti.
“I am sure this was no more than a provocation by those looking to drag other countries [into the conflict] and obtain support of powerful international player, particularly the United States,” Putin said about the chemical attack that reportedly killed hundreds last week.
The United States said that the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad were behind the attack, but these claims require solid proof, Putin said, marking the first time he weighed in on the topic.
“If they say that the [Syrian] governmental forces used weapons of mass destruction…and that they have proof of it, let them present it to the UN inspectors and the [UN] Security Council,” Putin said about the United States.
“Claims that the proof exists, but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody are below criticism. This is plain disrespect for their partners,” Putin said during a trip to the far eastern city of Vladivostok.