Russia has confirmed it will oppose a draft UN resolution establishing an international tribunal to prosecute those behind the crash of Flight MH17 in Ukraine.
Controversy continues over who downed the plane, bound from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
Ukraine and the West suspect it was destroyed by a Russian surface-to-air missile fired by Russian soldiers or Russia-backed separatist rebels, though Moscow has continuously denied this claim, suggesting that a Ukrainian missile may have hit it.
Deputy UN Ambassador Petr Iliichev confirmed Moscow’s opposition to the plan on Thursday, saying: “It’s not a good time and it’s counterproductive.” He also said Russia would push against the proposal.
The draft Security Council resolution, circulated by Malaysia Airlines a day earlier, says a UN tribunal would guarantee an independent trial for those behind the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane on July 17, 2014. The resolution was prepared by the five countries investigating the crash – Malaysia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Australia and Belgium. It was drafted drafted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which can be enforced militarily.
The text expresses the council’s determination “to deter future attacks on civil aircraft and to take effective measures to bring to justice the persons who are responsible for this incident.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said the international court is the “best option” for prosecution but that there is also a “back-up plan” should the Russians block the proposal. A final report on the Dutch-led probe is expected in October.