U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley condemned Russia on Friday for its attempts to hide proof of a chemical attack in Syria, and for supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite the humanitarian crisis it has caused in the region.
“It is Russia alone that has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime’s multiple uses of chemical weapons,” Haley said.
Watch Haley’s address to the U.N. Security Council below:
Haley called out Russia before the U.N. Security Council over its efforts to block any international response to the use of chemical weapons, while dismissing the recent attack on Syrian rebels as a staged cover-up.
“If Russia had lived up to its commitment, there would be no chemical weapons in Syria and we would not be here today,” said Haley. “That is the Russian record of unilateralism. It is a record that has led to the trashing of all international standards against the use of chemical weapons.”
“This meeting should not be about the so-called unilateral threats, it should be about the multiple actions Russia has taken to bring us to this point,” she added, listing a series of instances in which Russia used its veto power in the U.N. to prevent retaliatory action against Syria.
While Haley admitted that no decision has yet been made by the U.S. to respond with military force to the latest chemical attack in Syria, she stressed any future action by the U.S. will be directed at deterring the use of chemical weapons of any kind, in “defense of a bedrock international norm.”
After recounting several recent examples of Russian actions to enable the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, Haley called out Russia for lying about its involvement and denounced its attempts to hide evidence of the attack from the international community.
“Thanks to Russia, there was no U.N. body to determine blame,” Haley concluded. “But we know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about ‘fake news,’ but no one is buying its lies and its cover-ups.”
According to the Associated Press, Britain’s U.N. ambassador responded to Russia’s accusation that the attack was a U.K. cover-up, calling the assertion a “blatant lie” and joining in the condemnation of Russian actions in Syria.