Russia has cast its 10th veto of United Nations Security Council action on Syria since the war began in 2011, blocking a US-drafted resolution to renew an international inquiry into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
The mandate for the joint inquiry by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which found the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent sarin in an April 4 attack, expires on Friday.
A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the US, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted. The US draft text received 11 votes in favour, while Russia and Bolivia voted against it and China and Egypt abstained.
The vote sparked a war of words between Russia and the US in the council, just hours after White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump believed he could work with Russian President Vladimir Putin on issues like Syria.
The April 4 sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens of people prompted the US to launch missiles on a Syrian air base. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned after the council vote on Thursday: "We will do it again if we must".
Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the US draft resolution was not balanced.
"We need a robust, professional mechanism that will help to prevent the proliferation of the threat of chemical terrorism in the region and you need a puppet-like structure to manipulate public opinion," Nebenzia said.