MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States appears to be supporting the creation of a tribunal on the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine last year in order to punish those it believes are responsible for the crash, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.
"If Washington believes Mr. Tefft's words to be true, then, perhaps, the idea of creating a tribunal becomes a little clearer. If everything is known in Washington, and the United States most actively supports the establishment by the tribunal through a Security Council resolution, then, probably, one can easily make ends meet and understand what the purpose of this tribunal will be," Lavrov told reporters.
Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine put forward a joint proposal to set up an independent tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the plane crash. On Tuesday, it was reported that Malaysia had submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council.
"It turns out that it is set to punish those who Washington believes to be guilty," the Russian foreign minister added.
The UN Security Council has nothing to do with the investigation into MH17 crash, and creating an international tribunal on the matter will be an unprecedented move, Lavrov said.
"Never in a situation involving civil aircraft accidents, be it in 1988 when the United States accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger plane, or when Ukrainian military our Siberian passenger plane, has the UN Security Council set up any tribunals."
"The project to create the tribunal raises many questions. Never does the UN Security Council classify similar aviation disasters as a threat to international peace and security. It is a criminal offense investigated by members of the international investigation team as such. The Security Council has nothing to do with this," Lavrov said.
Kiev blamed the independence supporters in eastern Ukraine for shooting down the plane. However, local militia insisted that they did not possess weapons capable of bringing down an aircraft flying at 32,000 feet. Russia has repeatedly stressed the importance of a transparent international investigation into the tragedy.
"Our experts were invited to an international investigation group, but we are, so to say, not on equal terms yet, because the access to information obtained by this investigation group varies. Some members have access to all documents and materials, our experts are provided with partial information," Lavrov told reporters.
"Questions raised by our aviation authorities, defense ministry experts, all of which have been published and submitted to the UN Security Council, have yet to be answered of receive any response from those who carry out the investigation," the minister said.