MOSCOW — Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Syria could complete its shipment of chemical weapons out of the country by March.

“Literally yesterday the Syrians announced that they have planned the removal of a large shipment of chemical weapons in February,” Gennady Gatilov said in an interview with the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti published Tuesday.

The comments came after the United States criticized Syria on Thursday for its slow pace in moving chemical weapons out of the country for destruction. All of the most toxic chemicals were supposed to have been out of the country by December 31, but that deadline was missed.

Russia has been Syria’s staunch ally throughout the conflict which has now claimed over 100,000 lives, and Gatilov urged other nations not to “dramatize the situation.”

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