• Kremlin rejects US report blaming Russia for civilian deaths in Syria's East Ghouta

Moscow has denied a US claim that Russian fighter jets carried out airstrikes in Syria's militant-held Eastern Ghouta and reportedly killed scores of civilians since the start of the week.

"These are groundless accusations. It is not clear what they are based on. No specific data has been given. We do not agree (with them)," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday in response to a US briefing blaming Russia for the attacks.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group, claimed that at least 250 civilians had been killed in the attacks.

The Britain-based group also blamed Russian jets for the attacks.

Eastern Ghouta region, located near the capital Damascus, is included in a deal between Turkey, Russia and Iran to establish de-escalation zones in Syria with the aim of reducing violence in the war-torn Arab country.

Russia has been lending aerial support to Syria’s counter-terrorism operations since September 2015.

Meanwhile, Moscow refuted a report by the US State Department that sanctions against Russia had cost the country $3 billion in lost defense contracts.

"I can just say that everything is fine, everything is fine," Peskov told reporters during a phone call on Wednesday.

He added that Moscow was "trying to hedge risks related to instances of unfair competition on the part of the United States in the market of military-technical cooperation."

SS

Feb 21, 2018 20:19 UTC
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