The U.S. ambassdor to the United Nations says the U.S. is outraged and dissapointed after Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have set up an international criminal court to prosecute those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine a year ago.
"When people see Russia's hand up on something like this, when the whole world is united that when a civilian airliner goes up in smoke and so many families are affected, it is in all of our interests, our collective interests to see that justice is done," U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told VOA.
Russia has offered its own draft resolution, demanding justice for those responsible for the crash, but opposing a criminal tribunal regarding the MH17 air disaster.
That, according to Power, brings up other questions.
"I think not only does it raise real questions about Russia's relationship to the crime itself and what they're afraid of within the creation of an independent tribunal, but also raises real questions about the Security Council and whether it can be counted on to enforce the U.N. charter, which holds the borders of nations sacred and calls on nations to respect the integrity of its neighbors," she said. "And it does not say specifically, but certainly never intended for any member of the U.N. to back a set of militants who might shoot a civilian airliner out of the sky."
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the Security Council it is "inconceivable" that the Security Council would fail to hold to account those responsible for bringing down the Malaysian plane over Ukraine. She said Russia's vote "only compounds the atrocity."
Malaysia, the Netherlands, Australia, Ukraine and Belgium had expressed their support for an international tribunal on the crash and Malaysia had circulated the draft resolution. The foreign ministers of all five counties were present in the U.N. Security Council's meeting Wednesday.
'Urgent' appeal ignored
Earlier in the day, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made an "urgent" appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin not to veto the resolution.
Rutte's office, in a statement published on the Dutch government website, said he telephoned Putin ahead of the vote in New York to seek the Russian leader's support for setting up the international tribunal.
"In their open and detailed conversation, Mr. Rutte urged the Russian president to allow latitude for trying those responsible for the MH17 disaster in a UN tribunal,” the statement said.
Moscow has said that it wants to wait for the completion of an ongoing Dutch-led international investigation into the air disaster. The final report is due in October.
According to the statement, Rutte said he addressed Russia's concerns during the phone conversation.
"It was preferable to make a decision about the tribunal before the facts and charges have been established precisely in order to avoid politicizing the prosecution process," Rutte said.
On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, with 298 passengers on board, about two-thirds of them Dutch, was hit by a surface-to-air missile over the eastern Ukraine region held by Russian-backed separatists while traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Ukraine and the West suspect the plane was shot down by either Russian soldiers or the separatists, but Russia has repeatedly denied that.
Russia has presented a different scenario, denied by Kyiv, that the airliner was downed by a rocket fired from a Ukrainian fighter jet.