The Russian Embassy in New Zealand has released a briefing from the Russian Defence Ministry insisting that air strikes by the US, UK and France in Syria were an act of aggression intended to destabilise the Middle East.
The briefing, dated April 14, is letterheaded Embassy of the Russian Federation in New Zealand and headed Briefing of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation following the air strike by the US, UK and France against Embassy of the Syria.
The accompanying email refers to it as a press release.
Comment is being sought from the Russian embassy on the release of the briefing in this country three days after it was written and which matches Russia's narrative so far in response to the weekend air strikes on Syrian targets.
"It is to be stressed that there are no facilities on producing chemical weapons in Syria, and this has been documented by the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons)," the briefing said.
"The American aggression proves that the USA is not interested in objectivity of the ongoing investigation, seeks to wreck peaceful settlement in Syria and destabilize environment in the Middle East, and all these have nothing to do with declared objectives of countering international terrorism."
The US, UK and France launched missile strikes against Syrian targets in retaliation for what the Western nations said was the deliberate gassing of Syrian civilians.
Following the air strikes, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand accepted why they launched the strikes.
The New Zealand Government favoured diplomatic efforts and a multilateral approach through the UN but Russia's veto had prevented that.
But now was the time to return to the table at the UN, Ardern said.
Opposition leader Simon Bridges said New Zealand's response should have been stronger.
Rather than "accept" the air strikes, New Zealand should have followed the lead of Australia and Canada and supported them, he said.