Thursday

19th Jan 2017

UN to hold meeting on Ukraine crash, as Europe counts casualties

  • UN building in New York. The special session is to start at 10am local time (Photo: un.or)

The UK has tabled a UN resolution calling for an international enquiry into the Malaysian Airlines crash, as European countries count their casualties.

The British proposal is to be discussed at a special meeting of the UN Security Council in New York later on Friday (18 July).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“We believe that there must be a UN-led international investigation of the facts … the United Nations civil aviation organisation is the right body to lead that investigation and we will provide it with all the support we can,” the UK foreign minister, Philip Hammond, said in a statement on Thursday.

The White House, the UN secretary general, and the Nato secretary general backed the British call, with White House spokesman Josh Earnest saying: “It is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way.”

The OSCE, a European multilateral body, also held two video-conferences with pro-Russia rebels in an effort to get international personnel to the crash site as quickly as possible.

It said the rebels “agreed to securing the site of the crash, to providing safe access to the site for rescue teams, national and international investigators, and SMM [OSCE] monitors, and to co-operating with competent Ukrainian authorities on further practical questions”.

One hundred and fifty four Dutch people, nine British citizens, four Germans, and four Belgians were killed in the incident, according to Malaysian Airlines.

Forty-three Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, three Filipinos, and one Canadian also died. Another 41 casualties are still to be identified.

The airline noted that its plane had a “clean maintenance record” and did not make a distress call before it crashed.

It added that the route -10,000 metres over a conflict in east Ukraine, where rebels recently shot down two Ukrainian military planes - had been “declared safe” by ICAO, the international aviation authority.

For his part, Ukrainian President Poroshenko said on Friday morning: “Today, war has gone beyond the territory of Ukraine … external aggression against Ukraine is not only our problem, but also a threat to European and global security. Overcoming it requires joint efforts.”

He complained that rebels are trying to “cover things up”, citing reports the pro-Russia fighters are to send the plane’s black boxes to Moscow.

Ukraine says it has “evidence” the separatists shot down the airliner using a Russian-supplied Buk surface-to-air missile.

On Thursday, its security service, the SBU, posted on YouTube and sent to press excerpts of intercepted phone conversations between pro-Russia rebels and Russian military officers indicating the rebels fired on the plane because they mistook it for a Ukrainian military jet.

Leading analysts, such as Mark Galeotti, a US scholar of Russia affairs based in Moscow, have predicted that if Ukraine's claims are borne out, the incident will mark a turning point in the four-month old conflict.

He wrote on his blog that international pressure would likely see Russia halt support for the Ukraine insurgents.

“I suspect that when the histories are written, this will be deemed the day the insurgency lost. Or, at least, began to lose,” he said.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Thursday held a minute of silence for the victims before starting a government meeting.

But he blamed Ukraine for the crash, saying: “This tragedy would not have occurred if there were peace in that country, or in any case, if hostilities had not resumed in southeast Ukraine. And certainly, the government over whose territory it occurred is responsible for this terrible tragedy”.

Kerry to EU: Believe in yourself

Outgoing US secretary of state gives EU short pep talk from Davos, hailing its peaceful and economic success. 'It's worked, folks', he said.

Moldova turns from EU to Russia

Moldova's president said he would like to scrap an EU treaty and has started preparations to join a Russia-led bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. 'Be patient,' ECB chief tells Germany
  2. EU cannot copy Australia's offshore asylum model
  3. Brexit men launch anti-EU website
  4. Germany details its 'Marshall Plan' for Africa
  5. IMF predicts 'pain' for UK, as banks prepare London exit
  6. EP deal could help Tusk keep Council job
  7. UN struggles to monitor fate of readmitted Syrians in Turkey
  8. European space chief: Moon village is 'more or less a fact'