Russia Veto UN Action on Syria

Russia vetoed United Nations Security Council action to impose sanctions over accusations of chemical weapons attacks by Syria.

Vote on the resolution was drafted by France, Britain and the United States.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

Nine council members voted in favor, Bolivia voted against, while Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.

The resolution was in response to the results of an investigation by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The international inquiry found Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that Islamic State militants had used mustard gas.

Chlorine’s use as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill by burning lungs and drowning victims in body fluids.

China backed Russia and cast its sixth veto on Syria. According to them, it would harm U.N.-led peace talks between the warring Syrian parties in Geneva.

The vote was one of the first confrontations at the United Nations between Russia and the United States since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government has denied its forces have used chemical weapons.

Russia has questioned the results of the U.N./OPCW inquiry and said there was not enough proof for the Security Council to take any action.