Russia has vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded an end to airstrikes on Aleppo in Syria.
The French draft was vetoed by Moscow’s ambassador Vitaly Churkin, currently the council president.
Meanwhile a rival Russian text failed to gain the minimum nine votes to pass. China was one of only four countries to back it.
The draft removed the demand for an end to airstrikes and put the focus back on a failed US-Russian ceasefire deal.
The diplomatic deadlock came at the end of a week that’s seen the US suspend talks with Russia.
Moscow’s veto marks the fifth time it has blocked UN resolutions on Syria during the five-and-a-half year conflict.
“Your veto today, Mr. President, has only confirmed what we have known for so long. Russia’s actions in recent weeks have exposed just how hollow Russia’s commitments to the peaceful process is,” said the UK’s ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft.
Churkin replied that Britain should stop its “colonial habits” by intervening in the affairs of sovereign states.
It’s thought that more than a quarter of a million people still live in the rebel-held part of Aleppo. No international aid has reached the area since early July.
The UN’s children agency says conditions are dire. It has called for an immediate end to the violence saying agencies are on standby to deliver aid.
UNICEF’s representative in Syria, Hanaa Singer, recently visited displaced families in the government-held part of Aleppo.
“(In eastern Aleppo) we hear that because of the lack of services and lack of health facilities that some children are now, that doctors can’t cope with all the cases and some children in dire situations are left to die (…) The violence has to stop and once the violence stops the UN we absolutely stand ready (…) to deliver the needed support to the people in eastern Aleppo as well,” she said .
Government officials say dozens of families who have crossed from rebel territory in Aleppo have been given food and shelter.
But the past two weeks have seen the heaviest bombardment of the war yet, which has killed hundreds of civilians trapped inside the besieged city’s eastern sector.