The U.S. on Sunday called Russia’s actions in Syria “barbarism” during an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council geared toward curbing attacks on the city of Aleppo by Moscow-backed Syrian forces.
“What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counterterrorism, it is barbarism,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power told the chamber, Reuters reports.
Sunday’s emergency meeting was convened at the request of the U.S., U.K. and France to discuss the escalation of fighting in the besieged city since the Sept. 19 collapse of a cease-fire due to an airstrike on an aid convoy.
U.S. officials have accused Russia of being behind the attack, which killed more than 20 people and destroyed vehicles carrying humanitarian assistance for some 78,000 civilians. Moscow has denied involvement in the attacks.
Moscow’s U.N. envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said at Sunday’s meeting that finding a peaceful solution to the war in Syria would be “an almost impossible task,” according to Reuters.
Power and several other envoys reportedly walked out of the meeting as Syria’s U.N. envoy Bashar Ja’afari stressed support for “intensified efforts to fight terrorism.”
Amid the tense diplomatic row, fresh government airstrikes reportedly killed at least 26 people in Aleppo on Sunday, the Associated Press says, though subsequent reports cite aid workers claiming the death toll could be as high as 85.