Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution on Syrian chemical attack

James Tennent
Syria gas attack

Russia has vetoed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council that would have condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria and demanded that investigators be allowed access to the site of the Khan Sheikhoun attack.

In a press conference earlier on Wednesday (12 April), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia and the United States had agreed that the UN needed to investigate the incident but a spokesperson for US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is currently visiting Moscow, told the Associated Press that "no agreement was reached".

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Russia's UN ambassador repeated before the vote that the country wanted an independent international investigation. The resolution, drafted by the US, UK and France, had included a paragraph which Russia did not agree with, saying that Syria should hand over information on air operations and give investigators immediate access to airbases.

Relations between the US and Russia are at a "low point", Tillerson had earlier said, adding there was a "low level of trust" between the two countries. The Secretary of State added that the US was still confident in its assessment that the incident in Khan Sheikhoun was a chemical attack perpetrated by the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, saying that the government had used chlorine bombs and other chemical weapons over 50 times.

The alleged attack in Khan Sheikhoun became the impetus for US President Donald Trump to order a missile strike against an airbase in Syria where the US administration believes the attack originated.

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