Russia voted against a United Nations Security Council resolution Wednesday that would have created a tribunal to prosecute those involved in the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, also known as MH17. Russia’s position as a permanent member of the United Nations was enough to ensure that the resolution did not pass. Three countries abstained, and 11 voted in favor.
After the vote, Samantha Power, U.S. representative to the U.N., criticized the Russian veto. She said that Russia had “abused the privilege given to it by the U.N.” and that its “efforts to deny justice only intensify the pain felt by victims of flight MH17.”
Dutch, Malaysian, Australian and Belgian representatives brought the idea of the tribunal forward as a way to force Russian authorities to cooperate with an investigation that has been fraught with difficulty since the Boeing airliner was shot down in July 2014 while traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
— Canada at NATO (@CanadaNATO) July 28, 2015
The aircraft, which was allegedly shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile, crashed inside a region in which Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels were fighting the east Ukraine war. All 298 people on board died.
In the days leading up to the vote, Moscow made it clear that it would veto the resolution. To that end, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a plea directly to Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
"The Russian president confirmed the unchanging position that it is inexpedient to create such a judicial body," the Kremlin said in a statement citing the phone call between Putin and Rutte, noting that the U.N. was not to be used as a criminal court.