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The United Nations Security Council on Monday (July 21) condemned the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane in Ukraine with ...
298 people on board and demanded that armed groups allow "safe, secure, full and unrestricted access" to the crash site. The 15-member council unanimously adopted an Australian-drafted resolution demanding those responsible "be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability."
Tags:reuters,reuters news,australia,crimea,Julie Bishop,samantha power,u.n. security council,United Nations Security Council
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The United Nations Security Council on Monday (July 21) condemned the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane in Ukraine with 298 people on board and demanded that armed groups allow "safe, secure, full and unrestricted access" to the crash site. The 15-member council unanimously adopted an Australian-drafted resolution demanding those responsible "be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability." "I cannot begin to fathom the pain and anguish their family and friends are experiencing," said Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who traveled to New York to negotiate the U.N. resolution. Australia lost 28 citizens in the crash. The United States and its allies have blamed pro-Russian rebels for downing the plane. Separatists in east Ukraine have been fighting government forces since protesters in Kiev forced out a pro-Moscow president and Russia annexed Crimea in March. Bishop told the council that Russia must use its influence over the separatists to ensure access to the site. Veto-wielding council member Russia voted for the resolution after some changes were made to the text, including the characterization of the incident as "the downing" of the airliner instead of "shooting down". A request by Moscow for references to armed groups to be removed from the resolution was not granted. The resolution "demands 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, including by refraining from destroying, moving, or disturbing wreckage, equipment, debris, personal belongings, or remains." The resolution "supports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines" and "demands all States and other actors refrain from acts of violence directed against civilian aircraft." U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the council that there had been too little condemnation from Russia of the incident and of the treatment of the crash site and bodies by the pro-Russian separatists. "Not everyone has been supporting a real investigation into this crime. If they were, international experts would have had unimpeded access to the crime scene and all of the wreckage would have been left where it had fallen. That has not happened. Instead, armed thugs have walked around the site with little regard for where they step. We have literally heard the sound of debris, all of it evidence that needs to be carefully preserved, crunching beneath their feet," said Power. Russia's defense ministry on Monday challenged accusations that pro-Russian separatists were responsible for shooting down the airliner and said Ukrainian warplanes had flown close to it.