Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution demanding a swift investigation into a chemical weapons attack in Syria.
Voting on the resolution, drafted by Britain, France and the US, showed ten countries in favour, with Russia and Bolivia against, while China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstained.
In addition to an investigation, the resolution would have condemned the claimed use of chemical weapons in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun on 4 April.
The Syrian regime and its backers, including Russia, have denied Mr Assad was responsible.
They have said the attack which killed more than 80 people was either a rebel provocation or the result of Syrian planes hitting a rebel weapons factory.
The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said that Russia’s veto had put it “on the wrong side of the argument”.
“This afternoon in New York, the international community sought to make clear that any use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere is unacceptable and that those responsible will face consequences,” he said.
“So I am dismayed that Russia has once again blocked the UN Security Council and in so doing refused to condemn the use of chemical weapons or support a full UN investigation into the attack.”
Earlier, Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft, said that UK analysis of samples from the Syria chemical attack had detected sarin or a sarin-like substance.
Mr Rycroft told the Security Council: “The United Kingdom therefore shares the US assessment that it is highly likely that the regime was responsible for a sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April.”
But Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said he was “amazed at this conclusion”.
“No one has yet visited the site. How do you know that?” he added.
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