Today, members of the United Nations Security Council voted on a resolution concerning the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. Speaking before the Security Council, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said:
"Today’s resolution calls for a full, thorough and independent investigation into the horrific downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. When 298 civilians are killed, we agree that we must stop at nothing to determine who is responsible and bring them to justice.
"As we take this step, we are joined by the Dutch and Australian ministers, whose countries suffered an immense and heart-wrenching loss on Thursday -- one they are still grappling with, together with nine other countries from where the victims came. We extend our deepest condolences to those countries, the families of victims they represent, and all of the people who lost loved ones on that plane. Your presence here today, along with the dozens of other countries whose representatives will speak, gives even greater urgency to our calls for the dignified return of the victims and our pursuit of truth and justice.
"As we reflect on the immeasurable loss suffered by these families around the world, we are not only outraged at the attack itself; we are horrified and enraged by what has happened since -- by the clear intention of some to obstruct an investigation into how the passengers and crew died."
Ambassador Power continued, "...As we meet, we are seeing initial signs of the separatists allowing greater access to the crash site. Today, three Dutch investigators have accessed the site. The separatists are attempting to hold this up as proof of their openness and good faith. But let’s be clear, this is an extremely complex and time-sensitive crime scene. In that context, a spigot approach -- letting in a few investigators here, a few more there -- simply will not cut it. Access must be immediate and it must be full. Period. A spigot or stage-managed approach is a form of obstruction."
Ambassador Power concluded, "Russia can help change this. Russia can unequivocally condemn the separatists’ inhumane treatment of the bodies at the site and use its influence to ensure they stop tampering with evidence. Russia can demand the separatists immediately adopt a ceasefire in the area around the crash site, as Ukraine has done. Russia can press the illegal groups to sit down with President Poroshenko, who has proposed a serious and reasonable peace plan. And instead of continuing to provide weapons to the separatists, Russia could take back all of the surface-to-air missiles, tanks, and other heavy weaponry that it has delivered to them.
"These would not only be important steps toward achieving accountability and achieving justice for the victims. It would constitute a long overdue sign that Russia is willing to take steps to end this deadly crisis."
For more information:
- Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, after a Vote on Security Council Resolution 2166 on the Downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, July 21, 2014
- Statement by President Barack Obama on the Situation in Ukraine and Gaza, July 21, 2014