Speaking at a forum of journalists and political scientists, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that he could not be 100 percent sure that the government of Syria will comply with a plan to destroy chemical weapons. “Will we manage to carry it through? I can’t say 100 percent, but all that we have seen recently, in the last few days, inspires confidence that it is possible and that it will be done,” Putin said.
Destroying Syrian chemical weapons is the central part of a U.S.-Russian diplomatic agreement in response to the chemical-weapons attack in Damascus on August 21. Earlier, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu signaled that Russia would not destroy Syrian chemical weapons on its territory.
Russia and Syria both continue to deny that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, sticking to the story that it was a ploy by rebels to draw the West into the conflict. On Wednesday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia would present proof to the U.N. Security Council that the rebels were, in fact, responsible for the attack.