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Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria sanctions

The measure drafted by Britain, France and the United States [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 February, 2017

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Planned sanctions on leading Syrian regime officials linked to chemical attacks in the country have been blocked by Damascus' key allies Russia and China during a tense UN meeting.

Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution backed by Western powers that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons use.

The measure drafted by the US, UK and France won nine votes in favour while three countries opposed it - China, Russia and Bolivia.

Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Egypt abstained.

Russia has used its veto six times previously to shield its Damascus ally from any punitive action by the Security Council.

The resolution would have imposed sanctions on 21 Syrian individuals, organisations and companies allegedly involved in chemical weapons attacks in the war-ravaged country.

The defeated Security Council resolution would also have banned all countries from supplying Syria's regime with helicopters, which investigators have determined were used in chemical attacks.

The draft resolution follows a UN-led investigation which concluded in October that the Syrian military had carried out at least three chlorine attacks on opposition-held villages in 2014 and 2015.

The joint panel of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] also found that Islamic State group extremists had used mustard gas in an attack in 2015.

The Syrian regime has repeatedly been accused of using chemical weapons in the war that has killed at least 310,000 people since March 2011.

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