Russia seeks new options on MH17

Russia seeks new options on MH17
PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Russia is willing to work with Malaysia on different approaches on finding the truth over those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in spite of its resistance to the establishment of the international criminal tribunal.

Russia's ambassador to Malaysia Valery N. Yermolov said the current push for the tribunal by Malaysia and four other countries in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) did not fulfil the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2166.

"We consider the issue of establishing an international tribunal to be premature and counterproductive," Yermolov told the media yesterday.

He said Russia was, however, prepared to conciliate differences with Malaysia as the country had acknowledged willingness to seek other options.

Yermolov, who replaced Lyudmila G. Vorobyeva in January, declined to divulge what the approaches were and said they were "confidential".

It was reported that Malaysia would push for the resolution at the United Nations Security Council with the backing of four countries in the JIT - the Netherlands, Austra­­lia, Belgium and Ukraine.

However, Russia, a veto power-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, strongly opposed the draft resolution, claiming that this was used as an elaborate excuse to bring Russia to trial.

"Some members of the JIT seem to have decided beforehand who is respon­­sible without any solid evidence and without fulfilling the UN Security Council Resolution 2166," said Yermolov.

He said the lack of transparency from the investigation team, citing the Ukrainian air controller's recording on the day of the incident, which was not presented to Russia, as an example.

"We also asked for them to present records and the list of weapons possessed by the Ukrainians and the so-called Russian separatists, but we received nothing.

"We also asked the United States to present satellite pictures as we know that they are monitoring the area, but we got nothing," he said.

Yermolov said Russia would wait for the final results of the investigation, scheduled to be released in October, before launching initiatives to create a tribunal.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was downed over the territory held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine a year ago. All 298 people on MH17 - the majority of them Dutch - were killed.

Kiev and the West have pointed fingers at Russian separatists, saying they might have used a BUK surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia to shoot down the plane.

Moscow has denied any involvement and accused Ukraine's military instead.

It is learnt that the resolution, initially scheduled to be tabled on Wednesday, was being re-worked due to the Kremlin's resistance.

Russia had come up with its own draft resolution and the challenge was to find "any common ground" in it.

Yermolov said the common ground should adhere to Resolution 2166.

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