A pro-Russian soldier is back dropped by Russia's flag while manning a machine-gun outside an Ukrainian military base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Saturday. Pic: AP.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia has vetoed a U.N. resolution declaring Sunday’s referendum on the future of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula illegal, but close ally China abstained in a show of Moscow’s isolation.

Supporters of the U.S.-sponsored resolution knew that Russia would use its veto. But they put the resolution to a vote Saturday morning to show the strength of opposition to Moscow’s takeover of Crimea. The other 13 nations voted “yes.”

The resolution would have reaffirmed the council’s commitment to Ukraine’s “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.”

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