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Russia vetoes UN resolution on extending Syria gas attacks probe

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – Russia vetoed Tuesday a US-drafted resolution that would have extended by a year an investigation of who is behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

It was the ninth time Russia has used its veto power at the Security Council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

Russia opposed renewing the mandate of the joint UN-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) panel before it releases a report on a sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhun expected on Thursday.

Britain, France and the United States have accused President Bashar al-Assad s forces of carrying out the April 4 attack on the opposition-held village, killing scores of people, including children.

After Russia cast its veto, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Moscow was “once again” siding “with the dictators and terrorists who use these weapons.”

“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,” Haley said in a statement.

China and Kazakhstan abstained from the vote, Bolivia joined Russia in voting against and 11 other countries backed extending the mandate.

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