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The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an international probe into the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane in Ukraine and demanded that armed groups allow investigators "full and unrestricted" access to the crash site.
The 15-nation Council adopted the Australian-drafted resolution yesterday and condemned "in the strongest terms" the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17 in eastern Ukraine, which resulted in the killing of 298 people.
Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member, also supported the resolution after intense negotiations resulted in some changes to the text, including terming the incident as "downing" of the airliner instead of "shooting down."
"The resolution supported efforts to establish 'a full, thorough and independent international investigation' into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines."
Expressing grave concern at reports of insufficient and limited access to the crash site, it demanded that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area "refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site."
It also insisted on the "dignified, respectful and professional" treatment and recovery of the bodies of the victims.
It demanded that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation.
The Council demanded that those responsible for this incident be held accountable and all nations cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said he voted in favour of the resolution as he supported a swift and thorough investigation.
He stressed that Russia had already acted to facilitate the investigation and was offering to provide experts.
Churkin said that all elements of the truth should be brought to light, such as through the black boxes provided to investigators.
Explaining their votes after the adoption, Ukraine's representative to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev cited evidence that armed groups had carted away belongings of victims and tampered with evidence on the crash site.
He accused the separatists of committing three crimes of bringing down the aircraft, mistreating the bodies and hampering the investigation and insisted that they be put on the list of terrorist organisations.