Russia Vetoes UN Sanctions on Syria for Chemical Gas Attacks

  • Haley signals the U.S. still opposes Russia’s role in Syria
  • China and Bolivia backed Russia in opposing Syria resolution

Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov, center, speaks during the United Nations Security Council's Syria resolution over Assad regime's usage of chemical weapons on Feb. 28, in New York.

Photographer: Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russia used its veto to block a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria for the seventh time, rejecting an effort by Western powers to impose sanctions on Bashar al-Assad’s government and military for its use of chemical weapons.

In her first major action as U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley sent a clear message that the U.S. still intends to take on Russia over its support for Assad’s regime, despite President Donald Trump’s talk of working with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“No one else should get the idea that they can get away with chemical attacks,” Haley told the Security Council on Tuesday.

France, the U.K. and the U.S., had proposed a draft resolution to ban the sale of helicopters to Assad’s regime and to blacklist 11 Syrians and 10 entities even as the UN struggles to keep peace negotiations alive. China and Bolivia backed Russia, while Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.

A joint investigation by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded in October that the Syrian military had carried out at least three chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015.

Syria has denied the charges. Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, said there wasn’t enough proof for the Security Council to take any action.

Last month, the U.S. blacklisted 18 Syrian officials over their connection to chemical weapons. Washington also imposed sanctions on the Organization for Technological Industries for its role in developing the country’s ballistic missile program.

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