The Russian Ambassador to the UK played British journalists a bizarre montage of interviews of former Prime Minister Tony Blair to make a case against military action in Syria.
During a press conference in London today, Alexander Yakovenko likened the potential military action over Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons to the 2003 war on Iraq.
He branded the invasion “infamous aggression” and played a BBC interview of Mr Blair in which he said he backed strikes on Syria earlier this week.
Mr Yakovenko asked for “45 minutes” of reporters’ time before showing the tape.
It included part of a CNN interview in 2015 in which Mr Blair apologised and admitted “the firm we fought did not exist in the way we thought”.
A second clip from a 2016 speech showed the former politician “express regret and sorrow” over the war.
Mr Yakavenko said a strike in Syria would be “against International law” and would be used to “discredit the Syrian government.”
He added: “Tony Blair deliberately misinformed the parliament and the public. It is well known how it ended, with the Chilcot enquiry delivering their verdict.”
Sir John Chilcot found following an inqury into the military action that the UK mounted an invasion with the US “before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted” and claimed military was not necessary when war was declared in March 2003.
Mr Yakovenko claimed again that there was no evidence to prove chemical weapons had been used in an attack in Douma, in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Saturday.
Russia and Syria deny any involvement of Bashar Assad’s regime in the attack, in which 70 people, including children, are said to have died.
Mr Yakavenko branded French and British support of military action “mechanical”.
He said: “The Syrian government had been repeatedly warning for at least a month that rebels prepared to stage a provocation with chemical weapons in this very area.”
Mr Yakovenko said that international inspectors were expected in Syria on Saturday, adding: “But I believe that any delay may be used to carry out military strikes to cover up all the evidence, or lack there of, on the ground.”
Theresa May was today holding talks with French leader Emmanuel Macron today as America, Britain and France finalised plans for military action against Bashar Assad’s regime over its use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat at the Foreign Office, said it was “very important that the use of chemical weapons should not go unchallenged”.
Asked if the UK was being dragged along by the US, he said: “We will be working with friends and partners to make sure, if we possibly can, that the use of chemical weapons does not go unchallenged, that we deter further humanitarian catastrophes caused by the use of such weapons.”