Russia Clashes With U.N. and U.S. Over Aid to Syrian Rebels

Vassily Nebenzia, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, arrives at the U.N. for a Security Council meeting on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Russia’s U.N. envoy has clashed with the world body’s humanitarian chief as well as U.S. and other Western diplomats over extending the delivery of humanitarian aid across borders and conflict lines in Syria, which has helped thousands of people in rebel-held areas.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the current mandate expiring in December “cannot remain as it presently stands,” saying it undermines Syria’s sovereignty.

The Security Council has authorized cross-border aid deliveries since 2014.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told council members that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the mandate’s renewal, saying it is “essential to save lives.”

Lowcock said that in the first 10 months of 2017, “over 750,000 people on average each month were reached through U.N. cross-border activities.”

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