Russia Nixes Call for Tribunal on MH17
As the one-year anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 approaches on Friday, Russia is vowing to veto calls for a United Nations tribunal to investigate the tragedy and prosecute those responsible.
The flight was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 295 aboard as it was headed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. To this day there is disagreement over who is responsible. Ukraine said the plane was shot down by Russian-backed separatists, while Russia said the Ukrainian military is responsible.
A U.N. proposal for a tribunal by the countries investigating the tragedy – Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine – was met with immediate criticism by Russia. A plea to the U.N. Security Council to find the culprits "and its implications for the safety of civil aviation, constitute a threat to international peace and security,” with the hope that the tribunal would “deter future attacks on civil aircraft and to take effective measures to bring to justice the persons who are responsible for this incident."
But Russia dismissed those calls as its foreign ministry issued a statement expressing regret that its own plan for an investigation had been “disregarded.”
"At the same time, (Russian deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov) stated that the proposal for an international tribunal on the MH17 disaster was untimely and counterproductive," according to the statement. “It was stressed that Russian experts have been essentially denied equal and full access to materials at the disposal of the international technical investigators. Russian experts, who have substantial experience in investigating air crashes and thorough knowledge in aircraft and missile manufacturing, as well as technical opportunities for making the necessary examinations, could provide substantial assistance to the investigation."
The Dutch are currently conducting their own investigation and plan to release the findings later this year.
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