Russia Vetoes Bid to Set Up Tribunal For Downed Flight MH17

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -

Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Wednesday that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing a Malaysia Airlines passenger airliner last year in eastern Ukraine.

Eleven countries on the 15-member council voted in favor of the proposal by Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine, while three countries abstained: China, Angola and Venezuela. A resolution needs nine votes in favor to pass and no veto by Russia, the United States, China, Britain or France.

Flight MH17 was shot down in July 2014 with 298 passengers on board, two-thirds of them Dutch. It crashed in Ukrainian territory held by Russian-backed separatists.

“Those responsible may believe that they can now hide behind the Russian Federation’s veto. They will not be allowed to evade justice,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the council. There were 39 Australians on board flight MH17.

Ukraine and Western countries accuse the rebels in eastern Ukraine of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made missile. But Moscow has rejected accusations it supplied the rebels with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems.