UNITED NATIONS (AA) - Russia on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Moscow-backed "illegal" referendums to annex Ukraine's occupied territories.
The 10 remaining Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution drafted by the US and Albania, while China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstained from the vote.
"It (the resolution) condemns these illegal referenda. It calls on all states to not recognize any altered state of Ukraine. And it requires that Russia withdraws troops from Ukraine immediately," Linda Thomas Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council.
"Do you seriously expect Russia to consider and support such a draft? And if not, that it turns out that you are intentionally pushing us to use the right of the veto in order to wax lyrical about the fact that Russia abuses this right," said Russia's envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia.
"Such openly hostile actions on the part of the West are a refusal to engage and cooperate within the council... This is nothing more than a low grade provocation with a goal that is clear to all".
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier on Friday announced the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in violation of international law.
The referendums have been widely condemned by the international community, with European nations and the US saying that they will not be recognized.
"Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned," Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.
The draft resolution is now expected to be taken up by the 193-member UN General Assembly.