UN resolution on Crimea: Russia vetoes, China abstains

UN resolution on Crimea: Russia vetoes, China abstains
Armed police burst into a hotel in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, on Saturday night on the eve of a referendum aimed at deciding whether the Ukrainian region leaves Ukraine and becomes part of Russia.

UNITED NATIONS, United States - Russia vetoed a Western-backed resolution condemning the Crimea referendum at a UN Security Council emergency vote Saturday, but China abstained, isolating Moscow further on the Ukraine crisis.

The draft resolution, which says Sunday's referendum would have no validity, got 13 votes in the 15-member council. But it was rejected when permanent member Russia exercised its veto.

The resolution declares that the referendum on whether the semi-autonomous region should come under Kremlin rule "cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea."

China often backs Russia at the council, especially on Syria-related votes, and Western powers presented its abstention as the best possible outcome from the seventh UN emergency session since the crisis began.

"Russia, isolated, alone and wrong, blocked the resolution's passage," US ambassador Samantha Power told the council.

"This is a sad and remarkable moment."

US national security advisers assembled at the White House to discuss Ukraine. President Barack Obama was not there but was being briefed, a senior US official said.

"Russia totally isolated at UNSC. 13 vote for Resolution. Even China abstains. Russia alone in refusing to affirm sovereignty of #Ukraine," US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted.

It came as Ukraine accused Russian forces of invading a southeastern region of the country that neighbours Crimea.

Thanking the UN for its efforts, Kiev warned the world the situation on the ground had suddenly got worse.

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