PARIS: France slammed Russia on Tuesday for vetoing a Western-backed UN resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons use.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Russia bore a "heavy responsibility towards the Syrian people and humanity as a whole".
The resolution was "essential for peace and international security", he added.
France had drafted the Security Council resolution alongside Britain and the United States. Russia, a permanent member of the council, vetoed it along with China.
This was the seventh time that Russia, Syria's top military ally, has used its veto power to shield the Damascus regime.
"In Syria, the use of chemical weapons by the regime and by Daesh (the Islamic State group), including against civilian populations, is intolerable," Ayrault said.
"It is crucial that we do not let the crimes of those who choose to use such weapons go unpunished. This is why France took the initiative, with its partners, on this resolution," he said, expressing "deep regret" that the Security Council could not show unity on the issue.
"France will not resign itself to the abuses that continue to plague the Syrian people," Ayrault said.
"It will pursue these efforts with its partners to fight against impunity and the resort to chemical weapons."