UN Demands Access to MH17 Crash Site
Published: July 23, 2014 (Issue # 1821)
NEW YORK — The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an international investigation into the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Ukraine, with Moscow’s envoy urging other countries to avoid jumping to conclusions — and then proceeding to slam Ukraine.
Russia, which has been blamed by Ukraine and the West for downing the Malaysian airliner on July 17 in eastern Ukraine, was among the 15 council members to vote in favor of a resolution on Monday demanding unrestricted access to the crash site for international investigators.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said his country is “ready to provide any necessary assistance in organizing an impartial international investigation.”
“But until its completion, it is important to refrain from rushed conclusions and politicized statements,” Churkin said.
However, he then immediately followed his own call to refrain from politicized rhetoric with an onslaught against Ukraine: “Kiev is trying to use the shock that the international community is experiencing over the loss of the Malaysian airliner to boost its punitive operation in the east of the country,” Churkin said.
“Towns are subjected to indiscriminate artillery shelling, their residents are dying by the dozens,” he added.
During Monday’s meeting, Ukrainian Ambassador Yury Sergeyev expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and rebutted Russia’s accusations of using the disaster for political gain.
Sergeyev said Ukraine had invited envoys from Russia and representatives of the countries affected by the downing “immediately after the crash, the same day,” to participate in an investigation.
He also cited Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s declaration of a cease-fire around the crash site as evidence Ukraine had done what it could to ensure a secure investigation.
But Churkin used the Security Council floor to criticize Ukraine’s current and previous administrations.
Among other supposed evidence implicating Ukraine’s involvement in the downing, he mentioned Ukraine’s shooting down in 2001 of a Siberian Airlines plane that was carrying 78 people en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk.
Although Ukraine has acknowledged — after a period of initial denial — that its military had shot down the airliner over the Black Sea, Churkin said Monday that “until today, Ukraine refuses to admit its legal responsibility.”
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