Moscow: Russia has blocked the UN from issuing a condemnation of last week’s deadly chemical attack on civilians in Syria.
Moscow used its veto at the UN Security Council for the eighth time to shield the Assad regime.
The draft resolution, backed by the United States, France and Britain to denounce the attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun and tell Assad’s government to provide access for investigators and information such as flight plans.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said he is “dismayed” at Russia’s veto, saying: “This puts Russia on the wrong side of the argument.”
He branded Assad “the biggest terrorist of all”, adding: “The question for Russia now is how can they continue to support a regime that is continuing to gas its own people with weapons that should have been banned a hundred years ago.”
The vote came just an hour after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared relations between Washington and Moscow had reached a “low point.”
Mr Johnson said it was “highly likely” the Syrian regime was responsible for the toxic gas attack and called on Russia to stop acting “as a lifeline for Assad’s murderous regime”.
He said: “This afternoon in New York, the international community sought to make clear that any use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere is unacceptable and that those responsible will face consequences.
“So I am dismayed that Russia has once again blocked the UN Security Council and in so doing refused to condemn the use of chemical weapons or support a full UN investigation into the attack.
“This puts Russia on the wrong side of the argument. But it doesn’t have to be this way.”
It comes after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow to discuss the escalating tensions in Syria, where he admitted there were “low levels of trust” between the two nations.
Mr Johnson backed US calls to find a political solution and said the G7 leaders were ready to work with Russia to end the violence in Syria.
He said: “So Russia faces a choice: it can continue acting as a lifeline for Assad’s murderous regime, or it could live up to its responsibilities as a global power, and use its influence over the regime to bring six long years of failed ceasefires and false dawns to an end.
“We stand ready to work together and I will be talking to my G7 partners in the coming days about how we can continue to strive for a political solution that brings an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.”