Russia Vetoes U.S. Led Effort To Extend U.N. Chemical Weapons Investigation In Syria

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Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council vote on a U.S.-sponsored resolution to keep chemical weapons inspectors in Syria.

The veto will prevent inspectors from doing their job and investigating chemical weapons attacks in Syria, unless a new agreement back be struck before mid-November.

The resolution received 11 votes and would have passed had Russia not vetoed the measure.

In a statement U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley condemned the veto:

“Russia has once again demonstrated it will do whatever it takes to ensure the barbaric Assad regime never faces consequences for its continued use of chemicals as weapons.”

The U.N. voted took place days before a report on who is responsible for an attack, that killed nearly 100 civilians in Syria’s Idlib province six months ago, is due to be released.

“It stinks,” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said before the vote. A Russian proposal to postpone the vote until the report comes out failed in the U.N. “Why put the cart before the horse? Russia is always guilty in everything.”

Nebenzia said the veto will “in no way” impact the work of inspectors and said that Russia will be ready to extend the mandate once the report is published.

Last year, the Syrian government was blamed for three chemical weapons attacks in Syria. This Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was blamed for one attack involving mustard gas.

After the chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib province, the Trump administration responded by launching 59 cruise missiles at Shayrat military airfield in Homs province, Syria.

In 2013, after the Syrian government launched a chemical weapons attack that left 1,000 people dead, leading then-President Obama to demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to destroy his chemical weapons or face a military response.

Following the attack the Syrian government agreed to destroy all of its declared chemical weapons. But it did keep of a stock pile of undeclared chemical weapons.