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Russia vetoes UN draft resolution on Syria, demands investigation into chemical weapons use

Russia has vetoed a Western-backed Security Council resolution that would have condemned the use of chemical weapons in a town in northern Syria.

Wednesday's vote on the resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States was 10 in favour, Russia and Bolivia against, and China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstaining.

Russia's UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told the council before the vote that during talks earlier on Wednesday in Moscow, Russia asked for an independent international investigation to examine the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed nearly 90 people.

He said US secretary of state Rex Tillerson is considering the request.

The final draft resolution included a paragraph that the Russians objected to last week stressing Syria's requirement to provide investigators with flight plans and information about air operations on April 4 when Khan Sheikhoun was attacked, names of helicopter squadron commanders, and immediate access to air bases where they believe an attack may have been launched.

Earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his US counterpart in Moscow that if there is not an international inquiry then it will mean that the international community is not interested in establishing the truth.

"I would like to stress that we are 100 percent sure that, if our colleagues in the UN or in The Hague will steer away from this investigation, it will basically mean that they do not want to find out the truth,” Mr Lavrov said.

Mr Lavrov also said President Vladimir Putin is ready to return to implementing the memorandum of understanding on flight safety in Syria with the United States.

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