The UK, US and France rounded on Russia and China following the veto of a UN draft resolution on fresh Syrian sanctions, lambasting the move as "inexcusable" and accusing Moscow of buying time for Bashar al-Assad to "smash the opposition".
Both Russia and China have consistently resisted the security council's attempts to introduce sanctions on Damascus, meaning their veto was no surprise, but the strength of the response from those in favour gave some indication of the frustrations behind the scenes.
Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, condemned the two countries vetoing the resolution as "inexcusable and indefensible", adding that Russia and China had "turned their back on the people of Syria in their darkest hour".
It was the third time Russia and China have used their vetoes over Syria. The resolution would have allowed sanctions to be imposed on the Assad regime under chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
Source and full story: The Guardian, 19 July 2012