Moscow will oppose any attempt to “abuse” UN Security Council decisions to achieve the overthrow of “undesirable regimes,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
The statement came after Russia, along with China, vetoed on Tuesday a draft UN resolution urging the Syrian authorities to immediately stop violence against protesters or face “targeted measures.”
Russia said the proposed resolution, put forward by France with Britain, Germany and Portugal, was “unacceptable” because it contained the prospect of sanctions and could lead to foreign military interference in Syria.
“We have long been warning that we will strongly oppose any attempts to turn the Libyan scenario into a norm and therefore to damage the authority and image of the UN Security Council,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We consider it of upmost importance that all responsible members of the international community respect the principle of supremacy of international law without reservation and double standards,” the document reads.
The United States has expressed outrage at Russia and China for blocking the Western blueprint, with UN envoy Susan Rice saying that the Syrian people, “who seek nothing more than the opportunity to achieve their universal human rights and to see their aspirations for freedom and liberty achieved,” have been “slapped in the face.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the resolution was “based on the philosophy of fomenting tension, contained one-sided accusations against Damascus and an ultimatum-like threat of sanctions against the Syrian authorities.”
Such an approach, the ministry said, is “against the principle of peaceful settlement of the crisis based on pan-Syrian national dialogue” and “could prompt a large-scale conflict in Syria and the destabilization in the region as a whole in the long term.”
The UN says some 2,700 people have died since protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March. The Syrian authorities, who have used force to crush the demonstrations, say they are organized by “terrorist gangs” orchestrated from abroad.
The Russian ministry said the blocked document did not include “clear provisions” proposed by Russia and China on “the necessity for the Syrian opposition to distance themselves from extremists, as well as on the infeasibility of foreign military interference” in Syria.
Russia is “alarmed” by statements from the West that “the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on Libya should be a “model” for the alliance’s future actions aimed at implementing its ‘responsibilities to protect’” civilians, the ministry said.
Russia has repeatedly criticized NATO for violating its UN mandate - which provided for the “protection of civilians” - by openly supporting the Libyan rebels’ efforts to overthrow Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
Moscow is ready to continue its work at the Security Council towards a “balanced resolution” on Syria, the ministry said.