EU 'very much regrets' Russian veto of UN MH17 resolution

Flowers and mementos left by local residents at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 are seen near the settlement of Rozspyne in the Donetsk region, in this July 19, 2014 fie photo.
Flowers and mementos left by local residents at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 are seen near the settlement of Rozspyne in the Donetsk region, in this July 19, 2014 fie photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Union (EU) said Thursday it regretted as a "setback" a Russian veto of a United Nations resolution for a tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine last year.

"We very much regret that the UN Security Council last night did not adopt due to the veto of Russia the resolution on the downing of MH17," European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.

"This resolution would have established a binding and credible mechanism for prosecuting those responsible for this terrible tragedy," Kocijancic said.

"Regardless of this setback, the work must continue so that those who are either directly or indirectly responsible for the downing of MH17 are indeed held accountable," said the spokeswoman for the Commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU.

Eleven of the 15 members of the Security Council voted late Wednesday in favour of the resolution to set up a special tribunal to try those responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airliner on July 17, 2014 that killed all 298 people aboard.

Russia exercised its veto over the resolution which was drafted by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Angola, China and Venezuela abstained.

The resolution was supported by Britain, France and the US who suspect 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.