Russia: ‘Red line’ not crossed in Syria over arms

In this Monday, May 5, 2008 file photo Russian army S-300 air defense missiles move during a final rehearsal of Victory Day parade at Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral, right in the background, in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, June 4, 2013 that Russia hasn't yet fulfilled a contract to send sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria to avoid tilting the balance of power in the region. Russian officials have acknowledged that Moscow signed a deal for the delivery of the powerful missiles a few years ago, but have been coy about whether any of them have been delivered. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)
In this Monday, May 5, 2008 file photo Russian army S-300 air defense missiles move during a final rehearsal of Victory Day parade at Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral, right in the background, in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, June 4, 2013 that Russia hasn't yet fulfilled a contract to send sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria to avoid tilting the balance of power in the region. Russian officials have acknowledged that Moscow signed a deal for the delivery of the powerful missiles a few years ago, but have been coy about whether any of them have been delivered. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister says reports about possible chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime should not be used as a pretext for a foreign invasion, saying a more thorough probe is needed.

Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that investigators must also look into claims of chemical weapons use by Syrian rebels.

France and Britain this week pointed at evidence that the nerve gas sarin was used by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, signaling that Syria has crossed the “red line” set by President Barack Obama.

Lavrov warned against “speculations and provocation” surrounding the alleged chemical weapons use, saying the claims could be used by “certain forces, who may say that the red line has been crossed and that a foreign intervention is necessary.”

Russia has been a key protector of Assad.

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