Russia Vetoes MH17 Tribunal Proposal

Russia has vetoed a proposal to establish a UN tribunal into the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last summer, which evidence suggests was shot out of the sky by a Russian-supplied missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.

Russia has consistently denied that it had anything to do with the shooting of the airliner, instead putting forward a series of other explanations, including that it was likely a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet that shot it down. All 298 people on board the flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur were killed.

The proposal at the U.N. Security Council to establish a tribunal in order to determine the persons guilty of bringing down the plane was strongly endorsed by Ukraine, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium, all of whom have been jointly investigating the incident since last year.

Russia was the only country to veto the proposal, with 11 out of 15 countries voting in favor and Angola, China and Venezuela abstaining, according to the BBC.

Russia has repeatedly opposed the notion of a UN tribunal into the downing of the plane. Prior to the official presentation of the proposal for establishing a tribunal on Wednesday evening, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his opposition to the idea in a phone call with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, initiated by Rutte.

Putin told Rutte that Russia's position regarding the matter of a tribunal remained unchanged,

according to a Kremlin press statement published on Wednesday morning. Previously Putin has said a tribunal into the tragedy would politicise it.

"The Russian president confirmed the resoluteness of his position that it is aimless to create such a judicial body," the statement read. "It was highlighted that there remain a considerable number of questions in the investigation, including ones about the collection of evidence and the exclusion of Russia from a considerable part of how it was conducted."

Instead Russia has previously drafted an alternate resolution, last week proposing that the investigation should be led by a special UN envoy, as opposed to a joint task force of nations, which it fears may not be transparent.

The Dutch prime minister's office also issued a statement following his conversation with Putin, arguing that it is more prudent to hold the tribunal now "before the facts and charges have been established, precisely in order to avoid politicising the prosecution process."

"In addition, there will be plenty of scope for states to provide information to the tribunal, which will be bound by the highest international standards of independence and legitimacy," the statement continued.

Once the vote was submitted to the UN Security Council, on where Russia is a veto-holding permanent member, Wednesday night where Moscow made true on its promise to oppose the move, vetoing it.

Russia Vetoes MH17 Tribunal Proposal |