Russia's envoy to the OPCW said it was crucial to avoid new false-flag attacks in Syria and that Moscow "won't allow" U.S. military action there, as he described details of Russian findings on the site of the alleged Douma incident.
Before the press conference, Russian Federation and Syria organized a briefing with the witnesses at the OPCW headquarters.
The Syrians were flown to Europe to tell their stories at the OPCW, and then ushered into a room full of reporters at a nearby hotel where they all repeated almost identical accounts.
Witnesses of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab and hospital staff, told reporters at The Hague that the White Helmets video used as a pretext for a US-led strike on Syria was, in fact, staged.
The hospital received people who suffered from smoke and dust asphyxiation on the day of the alleged attack, Muwaffak Nasrim, a paramedic who was working in emergency care, said.
The boy resembled the child seen in a video widely shown on Western television stations after the alleged attack.
But Syria and Russian Federation have accused volunteer rescue workers operating in Syria's rebel-held territories, known as the White Helmets, of staging the footage.
We were at the basement and we heard people shouting that we needed to go to a hospital.
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"We need in particular Russia, Iran to exercise pressure on Damascus so that it accepts to sit at the table under United Nations auspices", Mogherini said as she arrived for the gathering, the seventh of its kind. At the hospital they started pouring cold water on me. The airstrikes came just hours before an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] team was scheduled to arrive in Douma to determine whether chemical weapons had been used there. In a report from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), more than 500 people were rushed to local hospitals with severe symptoms.
The U.K. boycotted the Kremlin's appearance, along with the United States and France, whose ambassador to the Netherlands said Russia's testimony was a sham.
Peter Wilson, Britain's ambassador to the OPCW, branded the briefing as a "stunt".
"This obscene masquerade does not come as a surprise from the Syrian government, which has massacred and gassed its own people for the last seven years", French Ambassador Philippe Lalliot said. "It is common sense that we should wait for the results of the investigation", said Shulgin. "He added that the allegations by certain Western countries" ahead of the briefing that Moscow and Damascus were seeking to hide" the witnesses from the OPCW experts did not hold water.
"We are deeply concerned about the fate of thousands of civilians, including Palestine refugees, after more than a week of dramatically increased violence", said UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krahenbuhl.
"The witnesses had very similar statements in how they described things, but no documentation was provided with reference to their identification at all".
Isopropanol, more commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is found in disinfectants, cleaning agents, paints and varnishes, but it is also a major component of the type of gas used in recent suspected chemical attacks by the Assad regime.
On April 25, OPCW inspectors made a second visit to Douma, collecting samples from a new location that will be sent to designated labs for analysis.