Russia, China, Veto Syria Sanctions
As Bashar al-Assad swears in new defense minister
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2012 10:39 AM CDT
Members vote during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria July 19, 2012 at the United Nations in New York.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Russia and China once again thumbed their nose at international pressure and vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Syria today. The move drew instant criticism from Western officials; Britain's UN ambassador accused them of putting "their national interests ahead of the lives of millions of Syrians" and relying on the "broken promises" of Bashar al-Assad's regime," CNN reports.

Assad himself hadn't been seen in public since a blast killed his defense minister yesterday, prompting speculation about his whereabouts until he appeared on television, swearing in his new defense minister, reports the BBC. Meanwhile, fighting continues to rage in Damascus. The head of the UN observer mission there issued a dour report today. "It pains me to say, but we are not on the track for peace," he said, according to the Washington Post.