All UN Security Council members have endorsed Australia’s resolution to let investigators into the MH17 crash site in Ukraine.
Australia’s resolution demanding “safe, secure, full and unrestricted access” to the Malaysia Airlines crash site for international investigators has been unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was at the Security Council on Monday for the 15-0 vote, described the shooting down of the passenger plane as a deplorable act, said Australia was in mourning and called on Russia to use its influence over armed rebels who control the crash site in eastern Ukraine.
The meeting was told thieves had looted bodies, including removing wedding rings from the dead, and pieces of the wreckage had been moved or contaminated by armed thugs.
Security Council members, including the US, Great Britain and France, applauded Australia’s leadership on the resolution.
“There must be a ceasefire in the immediate area around the site,” Bishop told the Security Council.
“The victims must be treated with dignity, brought back to their homes and laid to rest.
“All parties are required to fully cooperate with these efforts.
“Russia must use its influence over the separatists to ensure this. Russia must also use its influence to bring the conflict in Ukraine to an end.”
While Russia supported the resolution and called for “humanitarian corridors” for rescue workers and investigators, Russian Ambassador at the UN Vitaly Churkin questioned the authenticity of taped conversations between rebels released by the Ukraine government and alleged video of missile systems leaving the Ukraine for Russia.
He said the video of the missile systems was shot inside Ukraine, not Russia.
America’s UN ambassador Samantha Power attacked Russia’s response to the disaster.
“If Russia genuinely believed the Ukraine was involved in the shoot down of flight 17 surely President Putin would have told the separatists, many of whose leaders are from Russia, to guard the evidence at all costs,” Power said.
“We welcome Russia’s support for today’s resolution, but no resolution would have been necessary had Russia used its leverage with the separatists on Thursday getting them to lay down their arms and leave the site to international experts.”
Churkin hit back at the US.
“There’s no need to turn the discussion of the tragedy into a farce,” he said.
The resolution, co-sponsored by New Zealand and other nations, demands “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 and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unfettered access to the site and surrounding area for the appropriate investigating authorities”.
Up to 39 Australian citizens and residents died when Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crashed on Thursday, with intelligence reports indicating it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
Almost 300 passengers and crew died.
“Grief is now accompanied by outrage as we witness grotesque violations at the crash site,” Ms Bishop said.
“This demands a response. That is why Australia has brought this resolution to the Security Council.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said it was time for Russian president Vladimir Putin to show the world that he would act on the resolution.
“This has dragged on too long,” he said from Washington.
“This is a test for Mr Putin, this is a test of decency.”
No one should stand in the way of determining how and why the crash happened, he said.