Russia has blocked a draft UN Security Council resolution that declared the Crimea referendum invalid.
Ukraine’s new government dismisses the referendum as illegal and the text, drawn up by the United States, won backing from 13 out of 15 member countries.
Supporters knew that Moscow would wield its veto.
Russia was alone in its opposition however. China, a fellow permanent veto-holding member of the Security Council, chose to abstain.
This was a victory in itself for the West.
Beijing has voiced support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity but diplomats were not sure that it would break from Russia in the vote, further isolating its close ally.