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Russia Set to Veto Resolution Referring Alleged Syria Abuses to ICC

FILE - Russian Federation Ambassador Vitaly Churkin addresses the United Nations Security Council.
Russia plans to use its veto power to block a U.N. Security Council resolution that would refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the U.N., said Wednesday the resolution would complicate the goal of finding a political solution and that he would explain the reasoning behind the Russian government's decision on Thursday.

"The fact that the resolution is going to vote, we regard as simply publicity stunt, which will have a detrimental effect unfortunately on our joint efforts in trying to resolve politically the crisis in Syria, but what will come will come," said Churkin.

Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Each member has the ability to stop a resolution or decision by voting against it. Russia has vetoed three resolutions targeting Syria since the conflict there began in March 2011.

France drafted the latest resolution, which condemns "widespread violations of human rights" by Syrian authorities and pro-government militias, as well as abuses by "non-state armed groups."

More than 50 other nations have signed on as co-sponsors of the measure.

Syria is not a part of the treaty that created the International Criminal Court, so a Security Council resolution is the only way for ICC prosecutors in The Hague to investigate the alleged abuses.