A Russian bid for the United Nations Security Council to condemn US, British and French air strikes on Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack has failed after only China and Bolivia joined Russia to vote in favor of a draft resolution.
The 15-member council met this evening at Russia's request, the fifth time it has met on Syria since a suspected deadly toxic gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma a week ago.
The United States, France and Britain fired 105 missiles overnight in retaliation, targeting Syria's chemical weapons program.
"Why didn't you wait for the outcome of the investigation you called for?" Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said after the vote.
He accused the United States, France and Britain of "demonstrating a blatant disregard for international law."
"I hope hot heads will cool down and that will be it," he told reporters.
International investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog are in Syria and were due to start their inquiry today into the suspected toxic gas attack.
Russia and Syria have said there was no evidence of a chemical weapons attack.
The United States, France and Britain defended their military action as legal during the Security Council meeting.
"We are confident that we have crippled Syria's chemical weapons program. We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.
"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded," she added.
During an address to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all states "to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people."
Eight countries voted against the Russian-drafted text, while Peru, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea abstained.
Mr Guterres said in a statement earlier that all countries should "show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people."
Mr Nebenzya said the strikes threaten the UN-led bid to broker a political solution in Syria to the conflict.
A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, Britain or the United States to pass.
The council failed on Tuesday to approve three draft resolutions on chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
Russia vetoed a US text, while two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get a minimum nine votes to pass.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US actions in Syria made the humanitarian catastrophe worse and caused pain for civilians.
"Russia in the most serious way condemns the attack on Syria where Russian military servicemen help the legitimate government to fight terrorism," Mr Putin said.
Moscow may consider supplying S-300 surface to-air missile systems to Syria and "other countries", Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi told a televised briefing.
Russia had "refused" supplying those missiles to Syria a few years ago, he added, "taking into account the pressing request of some of our Western partners".
Following the US-led strikes however, "we consider it possible to return to examination of this issue not only in regard to Syria but to other countries as well," Mr Rudskoi said.
Meanwhile the European Union has called for Russia and Iran to help stop more chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, warning of fresh economic sanctions.
"The EU calls upon all countries, notably Russia and Iran, to use their influence to prevent any further use of chemical weapons, notably by the Syrian regime," the EU said in a statement.
It said the EU had imposed Syrian sanctions in July 2017 and March this year and was "always ready to consider imposing further measures as appropriate".
Earlier, European Council President Donald Tusk has said the European Union stood by the US, France and Britain over their air strikes.
"Strikes by US, France and UK make it clear that Syrian regime together with Russia and Iran cannot continue this human tragedy, at least not without cost. The EU will stand with our allies on the side of justice," Mr Tusk said in a Twitter message.
Strikes by US, France and UK make it clear that Syrian regime together with Russia & Iran cannot continue this human tragedy, at least not without cost. The EU will stand with our allies on the side of justice.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) April 14, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed the air strikes as a "necessary and appropriate" action to warn Syria against further use of chemical weapons.
"We support the fact that our American, British and French allies have taken responsibility in this way as permanent members of the UN Security Council," she said.
Ms Merkel this week had said Germany would not take part in any military action against Syria.