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UN SC to discuss interim MH17 investigation findings

September 19, 2014, 1:41 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

The meeting will be held on Russia’s initiative

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UNITED NATIONS, September 19. /ITAR-TASS/. The U.N. Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the investigation into the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash in eastern Ukraine, which killed 298 people in July.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will make a report stating interim findings and describing the overall situation in Ukraine, a U.N. spokesperson said.

The meeting will be held on Russia’s initiative.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 passenger plane crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All of the 298 people aboard died. Most of them, 196 people, were citizens of the Netherlands.

Flight MH17 broke up midair after being hit by “a large number of high-energy objects”, according to a preliminary report released by the Dutch Security Council in early September.

Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said after that “there has been no truly international investigation” and noted that the report had failed to mention U.N. Security Council Resolution 2166 adopted two days after the accident.

The resolution calls for a full, thorough and independent international investigation and for a ceasefire in the crash area.

Churkin said the report had also failed to give any insight into the causes of the accident and only said what had already been known.

The Netherlands’ chief prosecutor said it might take a long time to complete the investigation.

Last week, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia was surprised by “a very calm tone” of the report on the investigation of the MH17 accident in Ukraine and by its slow pace.

The Dutch Security Council’s report stated that the plane had fallen into pieces in midair presumably as a result of structural damage caused by external impact from numerous high-energy objects.

“The report surprised us and even our specialists who understand these terms… mainly because despite so much fuss around this tragedy its tone is very calm and the work is going unhurriedly and leisurely. There have been no calls for resuming the work of experts at the crash site. There have been no attempts to go out there, collect the pieces and see how the whole plane looked like, and no one ever spoke about this out loud,” the minister said.

“There were many tales about Buks [surface-to-air missile systems],” Lavrov said, commenting on numerous media reports claiming that the system was used to down the plane.

He said such allegations had been refuted. “They showed a Buk with a serial number that was moving around in the area controlled by Kiev’s army. And there are many other facts that are not just far-fetched but actually a blatant lie,” Lavrov said.

He said Russia was preparing a new set of questions regarding the accident.

“International experts spent three weeks in Kiev, talking with the Ukrainian authorities. No answers were prepared in response to the questions raised after the catastrophe by the Russian Defence Ministry and the Air Transportation Agency. Our representative, who is a member of the international team of experts, is pointing out these ‘oddities’,” Lavrov said.

“We are preparing another set of questions from the Russian aviation authorities to identify issues that require urgent attention. On the whole, as I was told by experts who know how such investigations are conducted, many things that must have been done were not done. I don’t know why. Maybe some benefitted from the situation where hysterical accusations were made against militias and Russia immediately after the accident,” the minister said.

“All front pages of newspapers and primetime on television, the Internet were full of that. Now that this ‘propaganda foam’ has been removed, some may not be so eager to investigate the actual causes of the accident,” he said.

“This is not our approach. We are probably the only [country] who keep reminding [the world] that there is U.N. Security Council Resolution 2166, which I mentioned before and which calls for an immediate cessation of fire in the area of the crash so that experts could get access. It also says that the investigation must be thorough, international, transparent and accountable,” Lavrov told TV Tsentr’s Pravo Znat programme (The Right to Know).

“As for the international nature [of the investigation], there seems to be a group of experts under the ICAO aegis, and the organisation is taking steps to begin multilateral discussions, but there is neither transparency nor accountability,” he said.

“I am not saying that the U.N. Security Council should conduct the investigation, but it set forth political requirements that match the acuteness of the tragedy and its perception in the countries whose citizens were aboard the plane and the international community as a whole, for it was a commercial plane that was downed,” Lavrov said.

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