US, Russia clash at United Nations over chemical weapons attacks in Syria

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"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded", Haley said, speaking at the U.N. Security Council meeting opened at Russia's request to discuss military strikes carried out by the United States, France and Britain on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack. Russia vetoed a US text, while two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get a minimum nine votes to pass.

This is the 12th time Moscow has blocked action on Syria by the council during the country's seven-year-old conflict.

"The votes have been cast".

"We have reached the moment when the world must see justice done", Haley said.

"History will record that, on this day, Russian Federation chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people", she said. "We have said it before that Russian Federation will stop at nothing to shield the Assad regime".

But the Joint Investigative Mechanism has been disbanded because its mandate was not renewed by the Security Council in November, when Russian Federation cast a veto to a resolution that would have extended the life of the panel for another year. The forum has negotiated both the Chemical Weapons Convention-an arms-control treaty that prohibits the use, production, and stockpiling of chemical weapons-and the Biological Weapons Convention, as well as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, accused the US of "trying to mislead the worldwide community".

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned US coalition airstrikes in Syria as a violation of global law.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday urged the Security Council (SC) to take action to avoid further deterioration of the situation in Syria, Xinhua news agency reported.

Russian Federation put forward its own proposal in January that has been rejected by Western powers who say it would give the Syrian government an upper hand over investigations on its territory.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are permanent Security Council members with veto powers.

The Fact-Find Mission of the OPCW is going into Syria to probe the Douma attack.

Russian Federation has repeatedly warned at the council that Western military action in Syria would be illegal and could lead to a wider conflict.

"Russia would rather cross the WMD line than risk sanction of" the Assad regime, she said, referring to weapons of mass destruction.

Asked what worries him most about possible military action the USA might take, Mattis said: "On a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control". He vowed Monday to take action within two days, saying the public would "probably" be made aware of any retaliation "after the fact".

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley didn't raise the prospect of military action directly but hinted the U.S. may not wait for the findings of a United Nations investigation.

Asked whether the USA military was ready to conduct an attack in Syria if ordered, Mattis replied, "We stand ready to provide military options if they're appropriate, as the president determined".

Johnson also spoke to his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday as well, "underlin [ing] the importance of the United Kingdom, the USA, and France remaining in close touch".