The Russian leader made the astonishing claim – that the US is planning to FAKE chemicals weapons attacks – during a joint press conference with the Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Putin insisted Russia would tolerate Western criticism of its role in Syria but hoped that attitudes would eventually soften.
But his claims that Russia has information strikes are being planned by the US on the southern Damascus region – the aim of which is to blame the resulting devastation on the subsequently discredited Syrian government – will not go down well in the White House.
When asked whether he expected more US missile strikes on Syria, Putin said: “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).”
He did not offer any proof for that claim however.
Meanwhile it’s emerged America’s top diplomat is set to warn Russia to abandon its support for Syria’s President Bashar Assad – insisting there is no future for his regime following the latest chemical weapons attack his own people.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to hold talks in Moscow after a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Italy called on Russia to promote a “real and genuine” political process in Syria and to use its influence to end the country’s bloody six-year civil war.
Following the gathering in the Tuscan city of Lucca, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said there was now an opportunity for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to “reset” relations with the West and to join the US-led coalition against Islamic State.