Russia said on Wednesday it would veto a U.N. resolution on humanitarian aid access in Syria in its current form, denouncing the draft as an effort to lay a foundation for military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Moscow had already dismissed the Western-Arab draft debated in the Security Council on Tuesday as a non-starter, but a senior diplomat’s unequivocal condemnation indicated Russia would seek major changes before dropping its opposition.
“Its whole purpose and aim is to create grounds for future military action against the Syrian government if some demands it includes are not met,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in Geneva, according to state-run news agency RIA.
“It is unacceptable to us in the form in which it is now being prepared, and we, of course, will not let it through.”
Since the civil war began in Syria in 2011, Russia and China have vetoed three Western-backed Security Council resolutions condemning Assad’s government and threatening it with sanctions. Moscow has adamantly opposed any Western military intervention.
At the United Nations on Tuesday, French Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters that Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council Moscow was prepared to work on some kind of resolution on aid access, but not the present draft.