- Associated Press - Thursday, September 19, 2013

VALDAI, Russia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says that Russia has strong grounds to believe that Syrian rebels were responsible for the country’s chemical attack.

Mr. Putin said Thursday that “we have every reason to believe that it was a provocation, a sly and ingenious one.” He added, however, that its perpetrators have relied on “primitive” technology, using old Soviet-made ammunition no longer used by the Syrian army.

The United States, Britain, France and others believe that a report by U.N. inspectors has proved the attack was conducted by the Syrian military.

Mr. Putin expressed optimism when asked whether he trusts Syrian President Bashar Assad to fulfill Russia’s plan for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and avoid a U.S. strike. He said Damascus’ actions so far have given reason to believe the initiative will be implemented.

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