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Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Suspected Chemical Attack In Syria

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley holds photos of victims of the Syrian gas attack as she speaks as the UN Security Council meets in an emergency session in New York last week.

Russia has vetoed a Western-backed draft UN Security Council resolution on last week's suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

China abstained from the April 12 vote, along with Ethiopia and Kazakhstan. Ten countries supported the text, while Bolivia joined Russia in rejecting it.

It was the eighth time that Russia has used its veto power at the council to block action directed at its Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad.

Damascus and Moscow claim the toxic gas that killed dozens of civilians in a rebel-held Syrian town on April 4 was released when government bombs struck a rebel-controlled chemical-weapons depot -- an assertion that Western governments reject.

The vote coincided with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Moscow, where he met with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

After the talks, Lavrov said Moscow would veto the draft resolution by the United States, Britain, and France requiring the Syrian government to cooperate with an investigation into the incident, saying it would be "counterproductive to have a UN resolution that would legitimize the accusations against Damascus."

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters