UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia vetoed a Western-backed U.N. resolution Wednesday that would have condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in a town in northern Syria and demanded a speedy investigation into the attack that killed nearly 90 people.
The vote on the Security Council resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States was 10 in favor, Russia and Bolivia against, and China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstaining.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told the council before the vote that during talks in Moscow Russia asked for an independent international investigation to examine the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun. He said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering the request.
Russia has criticized previous investigations carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations which blamed the Syrian government for at least three chemical weapons attacks. Safronkov has repeatedly called for an independent investigation with experts drawn from a much broader group of countries.
“We are convinced that we need to have a full and immediate investigation, and the possibilities for that have not been exhausted,” Safronkov said after the vote, accusing the resolution’s sponsors of jumping to conclusions about responsibility before a full-fledged investigation.