Russia vetoes UN condemnation of Syria attack

BEIRUT – Russia has vetoed a Western-backed Security Council resolution that would have condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in a town in northern Syria and demanded a speedy investigation.

Wednesday’s vote on the 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 earlier Wednesday in Moscow Russia asked for an independent international investigation to examine the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed nearly 90 people. He said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering the request.

The final draft resolution included a paragraph that the Russians objected to last week stressing Syria’s requirement to provide investigators with flight plans and information about air operations on April 4 when Khan Sheikhoun was attacked, names of helicopter squadron commanders, and immediate access to air bases where they believe an attack may have been launched.

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