Russia vetoed a French-drafted UN Security Council resolution on Saturday that would have demanded an end to air strikes and military flights over Syria’s city of Aleppo, while a rival Russian draft text failed to get a minimum nine votes in favor.
Moscow’s text was effectively the French draft with Russian amendments. It removed the demand for an end to air strikes on Aleppo and put the focus back on a failed September 9 US/Russia ceasefire deal, which was annexed to the draft.
British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin: “Thanks to your actions today, Syrians will continue to lose their lives in Aleppo and beyond to Russian and Syrian bombing. Please stop now.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russian war planes and Iranian support, have been battling to capture eastern Aleppo, the rebel-held half of Syria’s largest city, where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped.
“Russia has become one of the chief purveyors of terror in Aleppo, using tactics more commonly associated with thugs than governments,” US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations David Pressman told the council.
He said Russia was “intent on allowing the killing to continue and, indeed, participating in carrying it out” and that what was needed from Moscow was “less talk and more action from them to stop the slaughter.”
A UN resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes to be adopted. The veto powers are the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China. The Russian text only received four votes in favor, so a veto was not needed to block it.
The French draft received 11 votes in favor, while China and Angola abstained. Venezuela joined Russia in voting against it.
It was the fifth time Russia has used its veto on a U.N. resolution on Syria during the more than five-year conflict.
The previous four times China backed Moscow in protecting Syria’s government from council action, including vetoing a bid to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. China voted in favor of Russia’s draft on Saturday.