The U.N. Security Council Monday unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by Australia calling for a complete international investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, shot down over contested territory in eastern Ukraine last week.
The resolution called for unhindered access to the MH17 crash site, which is currently under the control of pro-Russian separatists. It called for them to “refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site.”
It demands the responsible parties “be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability,” Reuters reported.
“We owe it to the victims and their families to determine what happened and who was responsible,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said. She went on to say Russia had to sway separatists to solve the crisis diplomatically.
Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power, argued for language changes in the resolution. It successfully had the MH17 crash designated a “downing” rathern than a “shooting down,” but was not able to get direct references to Ukrainian rebel groups taken out.
President Obama accused pro-Russian separatists of removing evidence from the MH17 scene earlier Monday and asked, “What are they trying to hide?"
Rebels reportedly found MH17's black box and are holding it until a planned handover to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
All of MH17’s 298 passengers and crew, including infants, were killed when it was shot down Thursday, believed by a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile system. The BUK system is operated by the Ukrainian military and allegedly also by pro-Russia separatists who have been fighting the pro-Western government that came to power following the Maidan protest movement.
Russia says the Ukrainian military shot down the plane. Ukraine and much of the West contend it was poorly trained pro-Russian rebels. Rebels themselves say they don’t have the capability to shoot down a plane at commercial cruising altitude (30,000 feet), but social media posts suggest they either captured BUK systems from the Ukrainian military or received them from Russia.
The Security Council is made up of 15 nations. There are five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States. Ten non-permanent members are elected to two year terms, they currently are: Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Rwanda, which is currently serving as president. The emergency meeting was called Friday to address the downing of MH17.