Russia accuses US, allies of trampling international law
Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia (C), is seen voting on a resolution that would have condemned the attack against Syria carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, during a Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, United States, April 14, 2018. EPA-EFE/Jason Szenes
United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, votes on a resolution during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria at the UN headquarters in New York, United States, April 14, 2018. EPA-EFE/Jazon Szenes
Members of the United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution during a meeting on the situation in Syria at the UN headquarters in New York, United States, April 14, 2018. EPA-EFE/Jason Szenes
United Nations, Apr 14 (efe-epa).- Russia accused the United States and its allies here Saturday of "trampling" international law by launching strikes against Syria, adding that the legal excuses for the attack were "shameful."
"You are trampling the United Nations Charter and international law," Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said while addressing the Security Council.
The Security Council meeting was called by Russia following the early Saturday morning air strikes on Syria carried out by the US, the United Kingdom and France, which those countries say targeted chemical weapons facilities.
During the meeting, a Russian draft resolution to condemn the attack for violating international law and the UN Charter was voted down.
The proposal, which also urged the US, the UK and France to refrain from carrying out any further attacks against Syria, was supported by three Security Council members, while eight voted against and four abstained.
This is the fifth Security Council meeting on Syria since an alleged chemical weapons attack killed dozens last Saturday in Douma, which had been the last rebel-held town in the Eastern Ghouta region (just east of Damascus).
"It is shameful to justify an aggression (against another country) invoking an article of the United States constitution," the Russian diplomat said during Saturday's meeting.
Nebenzia was referring to declarations made by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who had said that the legal justification for the attack was based on Article II of the US constitution, authorizing the President to use military force overseas to defend US interests.
"It is time that you understand that the international rules regulating the use of force are established in the United Nations Charter," the Russian ambassador said.
Nebenzia also read a statement prepared by president Vladimir Putin condemning the "aggression against a sovereign state."
The rising tensions, according to Nebenzia, "represent a risk for the structure of international relations."
The United States, for its part, warned that it was "locked and loaded" if the Syrian government continued using chemical weapons, and that it was prepared to sustain the pressure.
"We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will," the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said during the Security Council meeting.
Haley said that the attack sent a "clear message" that her country would not allow the Syrian government to continue using chemical weapons.
In a previous UN Security Council meeting on Friday, Haley claimed the US had proof that a chemical attack occurred and said Moscow "has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime's multiple uses of chemical weapons."
In response, Russia's ambassador to the UN denied that any chemical attack occurred and said it had been staged by foreign intelligence services so Washington and its allies could use it as a pretext for military action against Syrian authorities.