UN to vote on crash resolution; Russia has doubts
The UN Security Council was scheduled to vote yesterday on an Australia-proposed resolution demanding international access to the Ukraine plane crash site and a cease-fire around the area, with diplomats pressuring a reluctant Russia to approve it.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his country would view a Russian veto of the resolution "very badly", adding that "no reasonable person" could object to its wording.
"This is still an absolutely shambolic situation. It does look more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation," he told reporters.
"Given the almost certain culpability of the Russian-backed rebels in the downing of the aircraft, having these people in control of the site is a little like leaving criminals in control of a crime scene," Abbott added.
The United States has presented what it called "powerful" evidence that the rebels shot down the plane with a Russian surface-to-air missile and training. Other governments have stopped short of accusing Russia of actually causing the crash.
Russian officials have blamed Ukraine's government for creating the situation and atmosphere in which the plane was downed.
Security Council diplomats held consultations late Sunday until past midnight to work out key differences between Australia and Russia. The diplomats emerged cautiously optimistic that a resolution would be approved, but Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin would not guarantee it.
"It was a worthwhile session, so let's see what the result is going to be tomorrow," Churkin told reporters.
The resolution calls for pro-Russia separatists to allow access to the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet carrying 298 people, including 37 Australian citizens and residents. It asks for the full cooperation of all countries in the region, including Russia.