Putin ‘astonished’ by Cameron defeat

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RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has commented on last Thursday’s vote in the British parliament against supporting a US military operation in Syria.

Putin said on Saturday he was ‘astonished’ by the move, adding it was made by people ‘motivated by the nation’s interests and common sense.’

He slammed as ‘unimaginable nonsense’ Washington’s allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians.

Putin said: ‘Common sense speaks for itself – government troops are advancing, in some regions they surrounded the insurgents.

‘In such conditions, giving a trump card to those who have always been calling for a foreign military intervention is simply unimaginable nonsense.

‘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 players, particularly the United States.’

Putin said the US claims about the chemical attack that reportedly killed hundreds last week require solid proof.

Speaking during a trip to the far eastern city of Vladivostok, the Russian president said: ‘Claims that the proof exists, but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody, are beyond criticism.

‘This is plain disrespect for their partners.’

He was speaking in response to the White House releasing a report last Friday blaming the Syrian government for the attack, which cited ‘human, signals and geospatial intelligence’ as well as open source materials such as social media reports and videos of the alleged attack.

The report explicitly stated that it omitted certain classified evidence, which was only made available to the US Congress.

Putin added that Russia denounced the use of chemical weapons and was ready for ‘consolidated participation in drafting measures to oppose such acts.’

He said he was hoping to take up the Syrian issue with Obama during the upcoming G20 summit in Russia’s St Petersburg on September 5th-6th.

A UN investigative team was dispatched to the site of the attack and is expected to present its findings in mid-September, but its mandate is limited to establishing whether the attack took place, not naming the guilty parties.