MOSCOW The U.N. Security Council should wait for inspectors to present their report on an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria before considering a response, Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Wednesday.
The remark by Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov signaled Russian opposition to a plan by Britain to put a draft resolution to the Council on Wednesday authorizing "necessary measures" to protect Syrian civilians.
"It would be premature, at the least, to discuss any Security Council reaction until the U.N. inspectors working in Syria present their report," Interfax quoted Titov as saying.
Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Russia has used its veto power in the U.N. Security Council three times to block Western-backed resolutions condemning President Bashar al-Assad and intended to press him to end the violence.
The United States and its allies are gearing up for a probable military strike to punish Assad, whom they blame for the alleged chemical attack last week which activists said killed hundreds of people as they slept.
Russia says it suspects rebels may have carried out the gas attack to provoke outside military intervention, and has warned that any use of force without U.N. approval would violate international law.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)