Statement by H.E. Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on the situation in Ukraine
On behalf of the Russian Federation, let me once again extend my condolences to all the families of the dead, and the governments of the countries whose nationals were on the plane which crashed on the 17 July in Ukraine.
We need to ensure an absolutely impartial, independent and open international investigation into the crash of the Malaysian airliner. This is the purpose of today’s SC resolution, which was supported by us and prepared with our participation.
The clarification of the circumstances of this incident must be organised with the ICAO taking the leading role and the participation of all those who are ready to help to establish the truth. All the material evidence, including the black boxes, should be provided to the ICAO for study within the framework of such an international investigation, and all the necessary conditions for access of an international expert team should be ensured. We need to do everything to guarantee the full security of the work of international experts in the place of the tragedy, provide them with some kind of humanitarian corridor. Representatives of Donbass, Donetsk, representatives of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry, are already working there, and experts from the countries involved are arriving. It is not sufficient. It is necessary that a comprehensive group of experts under the aegis of the ICAO and a respective international commission work in the place of the disaster.
However, before it all ends, we need to refrain from any hurried conclusions and politically motivated statements. What we are observing now is also not admissible. Kiev seems to be attempting to use the shock the world community is experiencing because of the crash of the Malaysian jet, to build up their punitive operation in the East of the country. Cities and towns are being subjected to non-elective artillery and air strikes, civilians are dying in their dozens.
Ukraine has to answer many question during this investigation: about the actions of their air traffic control officers, and the reasons for relocation of one of the Ukrainian Buk units on the 17 July, to the region which is directly adjacent to the territory under the militia control. Why did this unit leave this region in a hurry after the plane crash? Why were the radars of the Ukrainian air defence systems working at maximum intensity on the 17 July? The Russian Ministry of Defence has already formulated a range of questions, and we hope that international investigators will ask other questions as well.
The notorious audio recording between chiefs of the militia turned out to be put together from several conversations, including some which took place before the incident of the 17 July. The video, which was published by the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, which allegedly showed the removal of the Buk surface-to-air missile system to the territory of Russia, in reality was filmed in the territory under Kiev’s control. If it was this Buk, which fired that shot, those were not the militia who did this.
It is important to remember that the initial cause of the events of the 17 July was the armed confrontation in Ukraine, including in the region of this plane crash. Now the priority should be to stop military action as soon as possible and set up a peaceful negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva Statement of the 17 April and the Berlin Declaration of the 2 July. Russia continues to participate in the work, which is targeted at this. We also need a constructive contribution by other influential members of the global community.
It seemed to me that today’s session was not the place for polemics, however the US representative acted as she always does. Probably, Washington is not aware of the efforts, which were undertaken by Russia, in particular within the framework of the Contact Group, so that international efforts could get to the crash site as soon as possible. If this is so, then the US embassy should be better informed. And generally, let us not turn the discussion of a tragedy into a slap-stick comedy.
Thank you Mr. President.