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    Jul 31, 2015

    Abbott slams Russia's veto on MH17 tribunal


    AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Tony Abbott said yesterday that Russia's "outrageous" veto of a United Nations resolution to establish a special tribunal to try those who shot down Flight MH17 over Ukraine reinforced concerns that Moscow was protecting the perpetrators.

    Eleven of the 15 members of the Security Council voted on Wednesday in favour of the resolution drafted by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

    But Russia exercised its veto while Angola, China and Venezuela abstained.

    All 298 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777 were killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane was blown out of the sky over Ukraine, during a routine flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur on July 17 last year. Of those who died, 38 were Australian citizens and residents.

    Countries including Australia, Britain, France and the United States accuse pro-Russian separatist rebels of shooting down the Boeing 777 with a Buk surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denies involvement and blames the Ukrainian military.

    Mr Abbott said of Moscow's veto: "Its actions reinforce concerns Russia is protecting the perpetrators and continuing to assault the sovereignty of Ukraine."

    In defending the veto, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Russian investigators had been denied equal access to the crash site and criticised what he said would have been criminal prosecution carried out "in a closed fashion".