RUSSIA and China have vetoed a US-sponsored UN resolution calling for “an immediate and sustained ceasefire” in Gaza to protect civilians and enable humanitarian aid to be delivered to more than two million hungry Palestinians.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 11 members in favour, three against and one abstention.

The UK's UN ambassador Barbara Woodward said the UK backed the US resolution and was "deeply disappointed" with Russia and China's decision.

The SNP had urged the UK to quit being "complicit" and back calls for a ceasefire ahead of the vote.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn: Scottish Government's Gaza stance 'very helpful'

Before the vote, Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow supports an immediate ceasefire, but he questioned the language in the resolution and accused US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield of “misleading the international community” for “politicised” reasons.

The resolution declared that a ceasefire is “imperative”.

The draft that was put to a vote made no direct link to the release of hostages taken during Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, which was in the previous draft.

But it unequivocally supported diplomatic efforts “to secure such a cease-fire in connection with the release of all remaining hostages”.

The National:

The Security Council had already adopted two resolutions on the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, but none calling for a ceasefire.

Russia and China vetoed a US-sponsored resolution in late October calling for pauses in the fighting to deliver aid, protection of civilians, and a halt to arming Hamas. They said it did not reflect global calls for a ceasefire.

The US, Israel’s closest ally, has vetoed three resolutions demanding a ceasefire, the most recent an Arab-backed measure supported by 13 council members with one abstention on February 20.

READ MORE: This is why - even now - the US continues to back Israel

A day earlier, the US circulated a rival resolution, which went through major changes during negotiations before Friday’s vote.

It initially would have supported a temporary cease-fire linked to the release of all hostages, and the previous draft would have supported international efforts for a cease-fire as part of a hostage deal.

Nate Evans, the spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said the resolution was “an opportunity for the Council to speak with one voice to support the diplomacy happening on the ground and pressure Hamas to accept the deal on the table”.

Meanwhile, the 10 elected members of the Security Council have been drafting their own resolution, which demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that began March 10 to be “respected by all parties leading to a permanent sustainable ceasefire”.

It also demands “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages ” and emphasises the urgent need to protect civilians and deliver humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip.