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Russia, china veto UN resolution on Syria sanctions

Published: Updated:

Russia and China on Tuesday vetoed a UN resolution backed by Western powers that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons use.

The measure drafted by Britain, France and the United States won nine votes in favor at the Security Council while three countries opposed it -- China, Russia and Bolivia. Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Egypt abstained. Russia, china block bid by western powers to impose UN sanctions on Syria over accusations of chemical weapons attacks.

The resolution follows a joint investigation by the United Nations and the international chemical weapons watchdog that determined the Syrian government was behind at least three attacks involving chlorine gas and the ISIS group was responsible for at least one involving mustard gas.

Russia, Syria's closest ally, joined the Western nations in establishing the joint investigation, known as the JIM, to determine responsibility for chemical attack.

But Russia's deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, said Friday that Moscow would veto the resolution, which he described as “one-sided,” “based on insufficient evidence” and “a provocation.”

In a sharp retort, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley asked: “How much longer is Russia going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime? ... People have died by being suffocated to death. That's barbaric.”

The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons in the civil war, now in its sixth year, but the three Western countries contend there must be accountability following the results of the JIM investigations.

“We call on all our colleagues in the council, all 15, to ... give a strong, clear, message tomorrow that the international community means business on preventing the use of these abhorrent weapons,” Rycroft said.

But the British ambassador said he didn't see any indication that Russia would change its mind and allow adoption of the resolution.

The 11 Syrians who would be subject to an asset freeze and travel ban include Amr Armanzi, director-general of Syria's Scientific Studies Research Center, which is responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons and the missiles to deliver them.

Nine current and former military officers and the managing director of a Ministry of Defense subsidiary that assists in the production of chemical weapons are also named.