Russia used its veto power on the United Nations Security Council Tuesday, preventing the renewal of the mandate for a mission that investigates the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
It was the ninth time that Russia has used its veto to stop international action on Syria.
The investigation by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism – was established by the 15-member UN Security Council in 2015. Its mandate was renewed in 2016 for another year and is due to expire in mid-November.
The JIM is expected to issue its report by Oct. 26 on the party responsible for an attack on April 4 on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, where 87 people, including 30 children, were killed due to Sarin gaz.
In a separate report, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that Sarin gas, or a similar material, was used in Khan Sheikhoun, but without specifying the party responsible for the attack, since this issues falls within the authority of the JIM.
Russia says the Sarin gas found in Khan Sheikhoun was not caused by a raid by the Syrian air force, but probably by terrorists exploding a bomb.
However, western countries stress that the Syrian regime was responsible for using Sarin in Idlib.
The United States, Britain and other countries condemned Moscow’s veto decision, describing it as an attempt to protect the perpetrators of the Khan Sheikhoun massacre.