UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council is expected to consider a resolution today demanding that pro-Russian separatists provide “full and unrestricted access” to the crash site of a downed jet in Ukraine.
The document, proposed by Australia and co-sponsored by countries like France, also calls on all actors in the region to fully cooperate in an international probe of the incident.
It demands that all military activities, including by armed groups, be “immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation.”
A vote was set for Monday at 3pm (1900 GMT).
Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has the right to exercise its veto power to scrap the resolution.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is believed to have been blown out of the sky on Thursday by a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 passengers and crew. Among the dead were 28 Australian citizens.
The measure “condemns in the strongest terms” the actions that caused the plane to crash.
It demands that armed groups controlling the area “refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site… and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the site and surrounding area for the appropriate investigating authorities.”
While not mentioning Russia specifically, it “calls on all states and actors in the region to cooperate fully in relation to the international investigation of the incident.”
The text also urges countries to respect international civil aviation safety rules “in order to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, and demands that all states and other actors refrain from acts of violence directed against civilian aircrafts.”
Pressure mounts on Russia
World leaders have demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin use his influence to persuade the rebels to hand over the victims and allow full access to the crash site.
Major European nations have warned Moscow of additional possible sanctions over the crash.
On Friday, panel members, including Russia, demanded a full, independent probe of the downing.
Australia had asked that its 14 counterparts submit their comments on the measure.
One Western diplomat said it was difficult to know whether the Russians would exercise their veto power, adding Moscow was under significant pressure.
The diplomat did not rule out the possibility that Russia could ask for more time to examine the text.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier that it was “pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia in to the hands of the separatists,” while slamming “grotesque” scenes at the crash site. – AFP