Russian Federation vetoes United Nations resolution to stop bombing of Aleppo

The Russian foreign ministry says a draft French UN Security Council resolution on Syria would have helped "terrorists" in the Aleppo area by protecting them from aerial bombing.

Britain, France and the United States voted against the Russian measure that called for a ceasefire but did not mention a halt in the air strikes.

The French-Spanish text, which called for an end to hostilities, unhindered humanitarian access and an end to "all aerial bombardments of and military flights over Aleppo" received 11 votes in favour, two votes against from Venezuela and veto-wielding Russian Federation, and two abstentions.

Russian Federation gained the support only of China, Venezuela and Egypt for its draft resolution. Security Council resolutions need at least nine votes in favour and no veto to pass.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russian Federation, this month's president of the Security Council, speaking in his national capacity after it was defeated, said, "We were not expecting it to be adopted".

"They will undoubtedly claim that any and all of the devastation they are raining down is directed at terrorists, not the innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure they are very clearly striking", Pressman said.

The document was endorsed by France, the USA, the United Kingdom, and eight other members of the 15-seat council.

The votes reflected the deep divisions in the U.N.'s most powerful body, which is supposed to ensure worldwide peace and security but has failed to take action to end the more than five-year Syrian conflict.

Some council members complained that the timing of the resolution did not allow for any discussion or negotiation, as is customary.

Ayrault, who met in Moscow on Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, told Lavrov that he "hoped Russia would not want to be an accomplice to this tragedy, which mankind will remember", the French minister said in a meeting with reporters in Washington.

Angola┬┤s UN Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins said his country abstained on both votes because it did not want to be drawn into the acrimony between the United States and Russian Federation.

Russian ally Damascus has made significant advances in its renewed two-week-old offensive in Aleppo, seizing territory to the north and pushing back the front line in the city center which had remained largely static since the rebels captured eastern districts in 2012.

"This is not about stamping out terrorism, this is about killing civilians", Rycroft told reporters.

Churkin, the current council president, said it was "unprecedented" that the 15-member council would ask a permanent member to limit its activities, in this case requiring the Russian military to stop flights.

"This is a very unsafe game given that Russia, being in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government of this country and having two bases there, has got air defense systems there to protect its assets", Lavrov told Russian state TV's First Channel.

"Russia has become one of the chief purveyors of terror in Aleppo, using tactics more commonly associated with thugs than governments", David Pressman, US deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told the council.

"We were disappointed when Egypt voted for the Russian proposal", Alya bint Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, Qatar's ambassador to the United Nations, told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

Rebels have also intensified their rocket fire on government-held western Aleppo, where four people were killed in the Midan neighborhood, state television reported.



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