UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council (UNSC) has failed to adopt a British-drafted statement on the situation in the Syrian town of Qusair, which the government forces have blockaded with the help of Hezbollah guerillas, according to Council diplomats.

The draft statement would have called on President Bashar al-Assad’s government to “allow immediate, full and unimpeded access to impartial humanitarian actors, including UN agencies, to reach civilians trapped in Qusair.”

Russia blocked the statement during private discussions on Saturday, explaining that the UNSC had made no statement when the rebels came to Qusair in force and seized the town, the diplomats said.

The statement also voiced “grave concern about the situation in al-Qusair, Syria, and in particular the impact on civilians of the ongoing fighting.”

Qusair, near the Syrian-Lebanese border, is usually home to an estimated 30,000 people. Fighting for control of the town has raged for two weeks.

Council statements must be agreed unanimously. Russia blocked the draft text, saying it was “not advisable to speak out as the U.N. Security Council didn’t when Qusair was taken by the opposition.”

Moscow’s move to block the statement highlights the deep chasm between Russia and Western nations on how to deal with the two-year-old civil war in Syria that has killed more than 80,000 people.

The draft statement also urged forces loyal to President al-Assad and rebels trying to oust him “to do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties and for the Syrian Government to exercise its responsibility to protect civilians.”

Diplomats said Russia told council members that the best way to deal with Syria was through intensive diplomacy.

Russia and China have opposed efforts in the Security Council to impose sanctions on Assad’s government and vetoed three resolutions condemning it.

Moscow and Washington are trying to organize a peace conference in Geneva this month that would involve the government and rebels. There has been wrangling over who should participate in the conference and no date has been set for it.