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Putin: the US is planning more strikes in Syria

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By Catherine Hardy  with REUTERS
Putin: the US is planning more strikes in Syria

Vladimir Putin says Russia has information that the US is planning to launch new missile strikes on Syria.

The Russian president also says there are plans to fake chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

What exactly did Putin say?

“We have information that a similar provocation is being prepared in other parts of Syria including in the southern Damascus suburbs where they are planning to again plant some substance and accuse the Syrian authorities of using (chemical weapons),” Putin said at a joint press conference in Moscow with visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

He did not offer proof for the assertion.

Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow

Putin spoke before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was due to arrive in Moscow for talks with Russia’s foreign minister.

Putin’s spokesman says there are no plans for the Russian president to meet Tillerson on Wednesday.

Russian media, however, are reportedly citing unnamed sources as saying that the meeting will take place.

Defending Damascus

Russia has defended the Syrian government, a staunch ally, against US claims it was behind an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province last week in which scores died.

Officials say there is no evidence to underpin the allegation.

Putin said on Tuesday he plans to make an urgent request for the global chemical weapons watchdog – the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – to investigate the incident.

He also denounced last week’s retaliatory US missile strike on an air base in Syria as illegal.