Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have set up a tribunal into last year’s Malaysia Airlines crash.
Before taking the vote the council held a minutes silence for the 298 people on board who died when the plane came down in Ukraine.
Moscow’s ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin justified the use of the veto:
“Can this investigation resist the aggressive propaganda backdrop in the media? Can it resist pressure of a clear political origin when the causes for the disaster are named in advance and such statements are made by a number of leaders of certain states which form part of the Joint Investigation Team.”
Others of the 15 member council said they were affronted by Russia’s veto while Ukraine said there could be no reason to oppose the resolution unless they were the perpetrator.
“It’s about individual criminal responsibility of murderers and it’s not about politics. That’s why it’s particularly disappointing that one country, Russia, still mixes those two completely separate issues,” said Ukraine’s UN ambassador Pavlo Klimkin.
Flight MH17 crashed in Ukrainian territory held by Russian-backed separatists.
Western nations and Ukraine blame pro-Russian, rebels and claim there is evidence the plane which had been en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was hit by a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft missile.
Moscow has blamed the government in Kyiv for the disaster.
Malaysia led the call for an international tribunal to try those responsible. The move was backed by the Netherlands – which had 196 nationals on board – Ukraine, Belgium and Australia.