Russia and China have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded a seven-day truce in Syria's Aleppo on Monday (5 December).
It was the sixth time Russia has vetoed a Security Council resolution on the subject of Syria since the conflict started in 2011. It argued that a ceasefire would allow terrorists in the northern city to regroup.
"These kinds of pauses have been used by fighters to reinforce their ammunition and to strengthen their positions and this will only worsen the suffering of civilians," Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said of the proposed resolution, reported Reuters.
Russia also said more time was needed to arrange for talks between itself and the United States, in which it wanted to raise the issue of "US-backed extremists" in the city.
However, Deputy US Ambassador to the United Nations Michele Sison told the council: "That is a made-up alibi.
"We have not reached a breakthrough because Russia has been more focused on preserving its military gains than helping Aleppo's citizens," she said.
"We will not let Russia string along this Security Council while waiting for a compromise from the Russians that never seems to come."
British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft expressed surprise that China had joined Russia in vetoing the resolution, which would have also demanded humanitarian aid access and an end to the violence throughout Syria.
"[Russia and China] have chosen to veto not because of a lack of consultation, but because of their longstanding, misplaced faith in a despot who has killed nearly half a million of his own people," Rycroft said.
However, Chinese UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi hit back and accused Rycroft of "poisoning" the atmosphere and "abusing" the forum with his remarks. He added that the draft text should have been delayed for further negotiations so a consensus could be reached.
Venezuela also joined Russia and China in voting against the resolution, which was drafted by New Zealand, Egypt and Spain.