(CNN)The United States and Russia blamed each other Saturday for heightened international tensions after US, UK and French strikes against targets in Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons.
As leaders of the three Western allies exchanged calls declaring the strikes a success against future use of illegal munitions, the US and Russian ambassadors to the United Nations pointed fingers during an emergency session of the UN Security Council. The United States remains "locked and loaded" to strike Syria again in response to new chemical attacks, said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, who accused Russia, a key Syrian ally, of covering up for the Assad government. But Russia failed to garner the necessary Security Council votes for a resolution condemning "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter." After the Security Council session, Haley's Russian counterpart, Vassily Nebenzia, called the day's developments "a blow to a political settlement" in the Syria crisis. "I hope that hot heads will cool down and we can rebuild what has been destroyed," Nebenzia told reporters, adding that the United States, France and the United Kingdom had engaged in "diplomacy of mythmaking, hypocrisy and falsehoods." Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to United Nations, accused the three Western allies of undermining international peace and security and asked that copies of the UN Charter be distributed to their representatives so they can "enlighten themselves and awaken themselves from their ignorance and tyranny." The airstrikes followed a week of threats of retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, outside Damascus, where Syrian forces have long been battling rebels.