Russia has blocked a request put forward by France at the UN Security Council for “independent investigations” into the alleged massacre of several hundred civilians in Mali by the Malian army and Russian paramilitaries. Radio France International reports that the request for a UN investigation had been included in a statement drafted by France and submitted for approval Friday by the Security Council but Russia, supported by China, “didn’t see the need” for the text and considered it “premature,” given that an investigation has been opened by the Malian authorities.