Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution Wednesday commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys and recognizing it as an act of genocide.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, called the resolution a “confrontational and politically motivated” attempt by its sponsors, including the United States and Britain, to blame one side for the many atrocities committed during the 1990s Balkans conflict.
The vote was the latest controversy between Russia and the United States and its European allies. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement that the veto was “a further stain on this Council’s record” and called it “madness” to deny what happened in Srebrenica.
The Security Council has never formally recognized the massacre as a genocide. Previous U.N. statements and member states have done so, and they have taken responsibility for the failure to protect Srebrenica, which had been declared a U.N. safe zone and was protected by peacekeeping forces.
An international gathering is to be held in the Bosnian city Saturday to honor the victims of what former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan called the worst genocide in Europe since World War II, carried out by Bosnian Serb forces beginning July 11, 1995.