27 January 2020
Moscow: 15:33
London: 12:33

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694 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     686 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

15.04.2018

Embassy Press Officer replies to a media question on the legal basis of air strikes against Syria

Question: The UK has published its legal position claiming that the legal basis for the strikes against Syria is “humanitarian intervention”. Does Russia agree with that?

Answer: First of all, the concept of “humanitarian intervention”, actively promoted by the West in the 1990s, has been rejected by the international community. As such, it cannot possibly serve as a legal basis for any use of force. International law only allows to use force in self-defence or under a Security Council mandate.

The fact that Britain refers to “humanitarian intervention” is therefore a direct acknowledgement of the unlawfulness of the air strikes. The specific arguments used by the UK in support of its position confirm this further.

The gist of British reasoning is that the whole international community recognizes that a “new” chemical attack in Syria is imminent and that only the air strikes could prevent it. Yet, let alone a new attack, the international community is not convinced that a chemical attack took place in Douma, and wants to see the results of the ongoing OPCW investigation. When international monitors are arriving in Damascus, and – more broadly – when the Syrian government and large parts of the opposition are moving towards creating a constitutional committee to end the war, to say that “there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved” is hypocritical, to say the least.

We should add that today, speaking at the Andrew Marr Show, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson admitted that the strikes were not about saving lives or actually prevening President Assad from further chemical attacks, but should simply be seen as a “message”.

Let’s leave legal details to lawyers. But one doesn’t need deep expertise to see that we are dealing with an attack under a false pretext, a false legal basis and a false result.




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