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Moscow says its position on Syria's Assad unchanged

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on March 11, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow’s position on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remained unchanged.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russia denied that Assad was to blame for a poison gas attack and said it would continue to back him, setting the Kremlin on course for its biggest diplomatic collision yet with Donald Trump’s White House.

Lavrov declined to say whether the incident would affect Russia’s relations with the United States.

Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Christian Lowe