Russian representatives at the United Nations Security Council vetoed a resolution proposed by the U.N. to open an inquiry into the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
The resolution would have initiated a year-long investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to determine whether Bashar al-Assad’s regime was responsible for the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma last week that killed dozens of people and left many others in excruciating pain.
“History will record that, on this day, Russia chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people,” said U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley in reference to the Assad regime.
Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzia accused the U.S. of attempting to mislead the international community and said it is “taking one more step toward confrontation.”
“You do not want to hear the fact that no traces of a chemical attack were found in Douma,” he said. “You simply have been looking for a pretext” and want the resolution to fail “to justify the use of force against Syria.”
This is now the 12th occasion that Russia has vetoed action on Syria at the Security Council, which it has the right to do as one of the council’s five permanent members. The only other country joining Russia against the resolution was Bolivia, while China abstained.
Russia also proposed its own competing draft resolution that would have opened an investigation but allowed the Security Council to assign blame for the use of chemical weapons use.
“I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you’re currently developing for Syria,” said Nebenzia, as President Donald Trump warns Russia to “get ready” for missile strikes aimed at Syria.
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
Trump also added that America’s relationship with Russia is “worse now than it has ever been,” countering conspiracy theories about his closeness to Vladimir Putin.
Other countries, including Britain and France, are also likely to support U.S. military action in which the principal aim will be disabling the regime’s chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged countries to “find unity” on the issue as the diplomatic tensions continue to rise.
“The norms against chemical weapons must be upheld. I appeal to the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility and find unity on this issue,” he said. “I also encourage the Council to redouble its efforts to agree on a dedicated mechanism for accountability.”