UNSC demands unrestricted access to MH17 crash site

Tags: News
The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an international investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight (MH17) in eastern Ukraine and demanded that armed groups allow investigators "full and unrestricted" access to the crash site.

The 15-nation Council adopted the Australian-drafted resolution yesterday and condemned "in the strongest terms" the downing of MH17 on July 17 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, which resulted in the tragic loss of 298 lives.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member, also supported the resolution after intense negotiations resulted in some changes to the text, including terming the incident as "downing" of the airliner instead of "shooting down."

"The resolution supported efforts to establish 'a full, thorough and independent international investigation' into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines."

Expressing "grave concern" at reports of "insufficient and limited access" to the crash site, the resolution demanded that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area "refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site."

"The Council members also insisted on the "dignified, respectful and professional" treatment and recovery of the bodies of the victims.

It also demanded that all military activities, including those by armed groups, be immediately stopped in the area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation.

The Council demanded that those responsible for this incident to held accountable and all nations cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.

Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said he voted in favour of the resolution as he supported a swift and thorough investigation.

He stressed that his country had already acted to facilitate the investigation and was offering to provide experts.

However, he stressed that there could be no jumping to conclusions or accusations.

Churkin said that all elements of the truth should be brought to light, such as through the black boxes provided to investigators.

He added that Kiev was attempting to draw on the shock of the international community, while its indiscriminate air strikes were hitting cities and killing civilians.

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