UN Security Council approves crash probe

 

The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a full and independent investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine.

The resolution also demands that international officials are able to safely access the crash site, which is in a region of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatist militias.

ADVERTISEMENT
The measure was backed by the council’s five permanent members: China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia, as well as the 10 nonpermanent members.

It was initially uncertain if Russia would block the resolution given its support for the separatist groups in Ukraine that have impeded efforts to investigate the site. 

The Security Council vote comes as the Obama administration has ramped up pressure on Russia to allow investigators to begin their work and take steps to decrease tensions in Ukraine.

Before the U.N. vote on Monday, President Obama called on Russia to ensure unfettered access to the site and said the “burden” was on Moscow to ensure separatists did not threaten any investigators.

ADVERTISEMENT
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said earlier Monday that Russia had endorsed safe access to the crash site and urged Moscow to follow through.

“We need to see actions now that back up those words,” Harf said.

Australia drafted the Security Council resolution, after it lost 28 citizens who were on board the passenger jet.

The resolution was adopted hours after reports said Dutch investigators had arrived at the crash site and after Malaysia said it had reached a deal with pro-Russian rebels to obtain the plane’s black boxes and the victims’ remains. 

The U.S. believes pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane carrying nearly 300 people last Thursday using a surface-to-air missile launcher acquired from Russia.