Speed Reads

Khan Sheikhoun attack

Nikki Haley slams Russia for protecting Assad from United Nations investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria

On Tuesday, Russia used its veto power to block a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have expanded the investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria, The Associated Press reports.

In April, an estimated 90 or more people were killed in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwest Syria in what was likely a sarin gas attack. The United States has blamed the Syrian military for the attack, although Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied the charges. Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia tried to postpone the United Nations vote until after the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) reported on who it found responsible for the attack. JIM's report is expected on Oct. 26; its mandate would expire mid-November.

Before the vote, Reuters reports Nebenzia said: "Don't try to create the impression that the JIM will be a dead letter unless we adopt this resolution today. We are ready to return to extending the JIM after the publication of the report and after we discuss it after the 26 of October." U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Russia would not have voted to extend JIM if the investigation concluded Syria was responsible for the chemical attacks. On Tuesday she said: "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."

Overall, Russia and Bolivia both voted "no" on the resolution, with China and Kazakhstan abstaining. Eleven other nations voted "yes."