There is a saying, "Once bitten, twice shy". Russia and China claim to have been bitten once: when the West turned the United Nation's Security Council resolution 1973 on its head and proceeded to invade Libya. Moscow and Beijing became shy when the West tried to do another Libya, over Syria. When the West mooted successive draft resolutions on Syria, they fought shy.
Therefore, it comes as surprise that the two countries lost their shyness and allowed themselves to be hoodwinked again on Mali.
Curiously, Moscow and Beijing haven't yet commented on the French intervention in Mali, which came to light ipso facto and has rapidly morphed through the past week into a concerted Western enterprise in Africa.