Vladimir Putin has claimed that the US is planning airstrikes on Syria involving chemical weapons which it will blame on Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian president said multiple sources had told him that "false flag" attacks were being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus.

"They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack," he said at a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow on Tuesday (11 April).

Russia rejects that the Syrian government was behind a gas attack in Idlib province and that the countries that backed the US air strike that followed did so to cozy up to Donald Trump's administration.

He said: "It reminds me of the events in 2003 when US envoys to the [UN] Security Council were demonstrating what they said were chemical weapons found in Iraq. We have seen it all already," RIA Novosti reported.

Putin said that Russia would rely on the United Nations to "thoroughly investigate" the attack last week in Khan Sheikhoun which killed 89 people, and "make balanced decisions based on the investigation's outcome".

Syria denies it carried out a chemical attack which led to the US firing 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase, straining ties between Washington and Moscow. Meanwhile, Turkey has confirmed that sarin gas was used in the attack blamed on Assad.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is to talk to US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on Wednesday (12 April) in the first high-level visit by an official of the new US administration.