Russia to veto UNSC anti-Syria resolution, case's referral to ICC controversial
The United Nations Security Council was set to vote on a French-drafted resolution referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court on Thursday.
Russia was already widely expected to veto the measure along with China as they have vetoed three previous Western resolutions since the start of the Syrian crisis three years ago.
Gatilov said that Russia opposes Syria going before the International Criminal Court "since we consider that this is counterproductive in the current situation."
The Russian deputy foreign minister further termed the drafting as "intentionally politicized," adding that the ulterior motive behind the move is to gain permission for using force in Syria.
"The main plan is to get a Security Council resolution passed on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter as a basis for future use of force in Damascus," Gatilov said.
Syria is not a party to the statute that established the ICC, so the only way it can be referred to the tribunal at The Hague is by the UN security council.
Russia and the United States initiated a peace process that led to talks between the government and its opponents, but it has faltered and Moscow's confrontation with the West over Ukraine has further reduced the chances for success.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Some sources put the death toll from the foreign-backed militancy in Syria at around 150,000.