"This [draft resolution] is missing the most important thing: a clear clause ruling out the possibility that the resolution could be used to justify military intervention in Syrian affairs from outside," Russia's envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Wednesday.
"For this reason I see no chance this draft could be adopted," he added.
Russia is one of five veto-wielding members of the Security Council, so unless it can be persuaded to at least abstain, there seems no chance of survival for any proposal that involves outside political interference, sanctions, a Libya-style no-fly zone, or even a military-backed humanitarian corridor aimed at getting supplies to stricken Syrian civilians.
Syria has been a political partner and key regional client state of Moscow since 1971, and is the last remaining major customer for Russian arms in the Middle East. Over the past year, Russia sacrificed about $4.5-billion in broken arms deals with Libya, and lost as much as $13-billion due to UN sanctions against Iran, experts say.
"Moscow is afraid events in Syria will spin out of control," says Alexander Konovalov, president of the independent Institute for Strategic Assessments in Moscow. "We have lots of economic interests that we stand to lose, but this is not the main thing. The loss of political influence is more important, because Syria is the last point in the Middle East where Russia has a major role to play.... Russia fears that the US is out to engineer regime change in this strategic region, and Russia is simply not going to play any part in granting authority for that."