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Russia's Veto and Malaysia Plane Crash

  •  World

Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Wednesday that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing a Malaysia Airlines passenger airliner last year in eastern Ukraine.

According to the Reuters, eleven countries on the 15-member council voted in favor of the proposal by Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine, while three countries abstained: China, Angola and Venezuela. A resolution in general needs minimum nine votes in favor to pass and no veto by the five permanent members of the UN SC: Russia, the United States, China, Britain or France.

The matter is that earlier in July, a draft resolution was submitted to the UN Security Council calling for the creation of an independent UN tribunal to identify and prosecute those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in the Donbass region on July 17, 2014. The plane was shot down after leaving Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur. The aircraft had 298 passengers on board, most of them Dutch people.

Western nations and Ukraine say there is evidence it was hit by a Russian-supplied Buk anti-aircraft missile, though Pro-Russian rebels in the area have denied shooting down the aircraft.

As TASS reports, Russia has repeatedly stressed that the Malaysian initiative is premature and counterproductive. Moscow insists that it is necessary to wait for the Dutch Safety Board to release their final report into the crash, expected in October 2015.

Russia had proposed its own rival draft resolution, which pushed for a greater U.N. role in an investigation into what caused the downing of the aircraft and demanded justice, but it would not have set up a tribunal.

"Russia stands ready to cooperate in the conduct of a full, independent and objective investigation of the reasons and circumstances of the crash" Sputnik News reports Russian Envoy to UN Vitali Churkin said. "Yet no international tribunals have been established before in accordance with UN Charter Chapter VII on civilian plane crashes," he added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in turn mentioned that there can be no reason to oppose this draft resolution unless you are a perpetrator yourself.

"Those responsible may believe that they can now hide behind the Russian Federation's veto. They will not be allowed to evade justice," declared Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in the UN Security Council. It should be noted that there were also 39 Australians on the board, besides the Dutch majority, of course.

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