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Russia submits alternative UN resolution on MH17

United Nations: Russia said today it has introduced an alternative UN resolution opposed to creating a tribunal that would prosecute those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over rebel-held east Ukraine.

The Netherlands, whose citizens made up the majority of the 298 people killed in the July 2014 disaster, is working with Malaysia and other countries to create an international tribunal.

A draft resolution introduced by Malaysia calls for the tribunal under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which means that efforts to prosecute those responsible could be enforced by sanctions.

But Russia opposes the establishment of a tribunal. Its ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, told reporters on Monday that Moscow had drafted an alternative resolution.

“We have introduced our own draft,” Churkin said. Russia would begin consultations behind closed-doors on the resolution on Monday, he said.

“We believe it is not in the UN charter. The UN Security Council is not supposed to deal with issues like this,” he added.

“Our suggestion is a different kind of suggestion,” Churkin said, giving no further details about the Russian text.

Russia President Vladimir Putin said last week that establishing an international tribunal would be counterproductive.

One Security Council diplomat told AFP that supporters of the tribunal would submit their resolution for a vote in “the middle of next week.”

Russia wields a veto and can block the initiative.

Investigators from the Netherlands are leading an international probe into the downing of the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight and are expected to release a final report in early October.

Ukraine and many in the West have accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane, saying they may have used a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia.

Russia and the rebels deny any responsibility and point the finger at Ukraine’s military.