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Russia blocks UN statement condemning Syria airstrikes

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January 6, 2014: In this citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center, AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following a Syrian government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

Russia has blocked a British-drafted United Nations Security Council statement condemning attacks by the Syrian government on the city of Aleppo that have killed more than 700 people using Scud missiles and explosive-filled barrels, U.N. diplomats tell Fox News.

The six-paragraph statement, while not enforceable in and of itself, could have been a building block toward a Security Council resolution at a later date. In it, the member nations expressed concern at the escalating level of violence by all parties in the Syrian civil war, outrage at the airstrikes carried out by Bashar al-Assad's government on Aleppo itself, and warned that the humanitarian situation in Syria continued to deteriorate ahead of a planned peace conference in Geneva later this month.

A U.N. diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were private, told the Associated Press Wednesday that Russia introduced amendments that watered down the original statement so it had no meaningful impact on the situation in Aleppo. As a result, Britain could no longer support the draft language.

Russia, a staunch supporter of Assad, has already used its veto power in the Security Council to block three resolutions related to the Syrian conflict. Last month, Russia used a similar tactic to derail a U.S.-sponsored draft statement that singled out the Syrian government for condemnation.

The Russian Mission to the U.N. has so far not responded to Fox News' request for an explanation for not joining the rest of the council in supporting the statement, which required consensus to pass and was supported by the other 14 members, including the United States. 

The U.N. estimates that over 3,000 people have been injured since the daily airstrikes against Aleppo began on December 15. 

Fox News' Jonathan Wachtel and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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