Russia vetoed a French-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution on Saturday that would have demanded an end to air strikes and military flights over Syria's city of Aleppo, while a rival Russian draft text failed to get a minimum nine votes in favor.
Moscow's text was effectively the French draft with Russian amendments. It removed the demand for an end to air strikes on Aleppo and put the focus back on a failed Sept. 9 U.S./Russia ceasefire deal, which was annexed to the draft.
Russia only gained the support of China, Venezuela and Egypt for its draft resolution. Angola and Uruguay abstained, while the remaining nine council members voted against.
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who is council president for October, described the dual votes on Saturday as one of the "strangest spectacles in the history of the Security Council."
"Given that the crisis in Syria is at a critical stage, when it is particularly important that there be a coordination of the political efforts of the international community, this waste of time is inadmissible," Churkin told the council.
British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told Churkin: "Thanks to your actions today, Syrians will continue to lose their lives in Aleppo and beyond to Russian and Syrian bombing. Please stop now."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Russian war planes and Iranian support, have been battling to capture eastern Aleppo, the rebel-held half of Syria's largest city, where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped.
A U.N. resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes to be adopted. The veto powers are the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China. The Russian text only received four votes in favor, so a veto was not needed to block it.
The French draft received 11 votes in favor, while China and Angola abstained. Venezuela joined Russia in voting against it.
It was the fifth time Russia has used its veto on a U.N. resolution on Syria during the more than five-year conflict.
The previous four times China backed Moscow in protecting Syria's government from council action, including vetoing a bid to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. China voted in favor of Russia's draft on Saturday.
Syrian government forces recaptured territory from insurgents in several western areas on Saturday.
Both the French and Russian U.N. draft resolutions called for a truce and humanitarian aid access throughout Syria.
"If we don't do something this town (Aleppo) will soon just be in ruins and will remain in history as a town in which the inhabitants were abandoned to their executioners," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said. "If the international community does not wake up it will share the responsibility."