On June 22, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a joint briefing of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense that militants in the district of Duma used European-made equipment to manufacture chemical weapons, according to the Russian news outlet Sputnik.
“The equipment, the leakage of which came out a few days ago… I would like to say that some of it is equipment that was used by militants, terrorists. It was discovered in the city of Douma,” Zakharova said at the briefing.
Major General Igor Kirillov of the Ministry of Defense revealed that traces of mustard agent and chlorine were found in these equipment, which were also used to manufacture pentaerythritol tetranitrate (TEN) high explosives.
“With the help of this equipment, [militants] produced high-tech and high-quality TEN explosives. During the search of the lab, [the Russian military] also found thiodiglycol and triethanolamine, which can be used for the production of sulfur and nitrogen mustard, as well as hexamine,” Maj. Gen. Kirillov said.
Furthermore, Maj. Gen. Kirillov criticized the techniques which were used by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact finding mission during its investigation in Duma. The Russian general also accused the OPCW of violating the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention by protracted the timing of the investigation in favor of the US and their allies.
“The remote nature of investigations as well as the collection, analysis and use of the documents obtained without specialists’ trips to the alleged sites of chemical weapons use, is in direct contradiction to the Convention’s provisions,” said Maj. Gen. Kirillov and added: “What kind of results can we expect from a Fact-Finding Mission investigating this incident that has already led to a massive missile strike by the US, UK and French aircraft on the territory of the sovereign state in violation of international legal mechanisms? Obviously, they are preparing yet another accusatory report based on pseudo-evidence.”
The OPCW is expected to release its final report on the alleged chemical attack in Duma very soon. Zakharova and Maj. Gen. Kirillov’s statements hint that Moscow already knows that the upcoming report will be biased in favor of the US.