03:07 GMT19 May 2021
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    China provided support to the Russian side "in the spirit of objectivity and fairness".

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — China calls its abstention from voting on the UN Security Council resolution to establish a tribunal on the MH17 plane crash in Ukraine support for Russia's position, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said Thursday.

    On July 29, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, submitted by Malaysia, to create a tribunal to identify and prosecute those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, which left all 298 people on board dead.

    "The Chinese side abstained from voting. We thereby provided support to the Russian side in the spirit of objectivity and fairness," the vice minister told reporters, adding that it was common international practice to provide partners with support in such ways.

    Guoping stressed that China was against the tribunal and had repeatedly insisted on carrying out an "objective and transparent" investigation under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

    Moscow has repeatedly stated that the initiative to create a tribunal was premature and counterproductive, stressing that it is necessary to wait for the Dutch Safety Board, responsible for the official investigation into the MH17 crash, to release its final report into the crash before progressing further with the matter.

    According to the board's preliminary report, the plane broke up in mid-air due to structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects penetrating the aircraft from outside.

    Kiev and the West blame eastern Ukrainian militia for shooting down the plane. The militia argue they do not and never did possess weapons capable of shooting down an aircraft traveling at the altitude at which flight MH17 was flying.


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