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Russia’s Ambassador Distorts UN Official’s Comments on Aleppo Bombings

Vitaliy Churkin

Vitaliy Churkin

Russian Ambassador to the UN

“He (a UN official) spoke of eastern Aleppo as though it were under continual attack from chemical weapons. I would ask him to produce a single fact about this.”

false chemcial weapons mentioned.

During a United Nations Council meeting on October 26, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Stephen O’Brien, gave details on the dire humanitarian situation in Aleppo caused by civil war and Russian and Syrian military bombings.

Following the presentation, Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaliy Churkin, said that O’Brien was talking about Aleppo as “though it were under continual attack from chemical weapons.” Churkin demanded “at least one fact” to prove the use of chemical weapons.

There are two parts to this fact check.

First, during the meeting – as this transcript shows - O’Brien never referred to chemical weapons use, only airstrikes and bombings on Aleppo.

Second, Russia has often defended its ally Syria when it comes to allegations of chemical weapons use.

The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons, while Russia has questioned evidence of chemical weapons use turned up by international investigators.

Churkin challenged the UN official to produce “a single fact” about chemical weapons use in eastern Aleppo.

The UN established a joint investigative team with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war. They have produced four reports thus far, researching four different time periods, each one stating that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons.

In August, Amnesty International condemned an alleged chorine gas attack by Syrian forces in Aleppo, saying it signals an intensifying use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.

Russia, however, said in recent days that Syrian rebels used chemical weapons against the Syrian army in Aleppo. But rebel commanders say they have no such weapons.