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31 Jul, 2014 02:05

Russia fears Kiev trying to destroy implicating MH17 evidence

Kiev authorities may be seeking to “destroy evidence” which implicates their role in the crash of the Malaysian jet, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said, expressing concerns over the ongoing military operation in E. Ukraine in breach of UN resolution.

LIVE UPDATES: Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane crash in Ukraine

According to Churkin, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko promised a cease-fire in the disaster area,“but this promise was immediately broken, while Ukrainian officials have publicly announced a new task – to cleanse of the militias and take control of this territory,"Churkin said in New York.

Such actions directly violate UN Security Council resolution 2166, which calls for a ceasefire and for thorough and impartial investigation into the Boeing tragedy under the ICAO umbrella, Churkin added.

“We fear that Kiev authorities are moved by the intention to destroy evidence, implicating their role in the Malaysian airliner catastrophe,” Churkin said.

In order to ensure compliance with the ceasefire resolution and reinforce it, on Monday the Russian delegation to the UN proposed to adopt“a simple and unambiguous statement to the press.”

“However, [Russia’s proposal] was unceremoniously blocked by some members of the Security Council, clearly not interested in strict compliance with resolution 2166,” Churkin explained.

Once again urging for a ceasefire in Ukraine, Churkin reminded the Council that the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia have mobilized “considerable resources” to investigate the crash.

A woman walks past wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 26, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Russia in the meantime handed over its surveillance data of the disaster area of the Boeing 777 crash.

"We have passed the objective observation data of the disaster area to the international organizations, including the UN and the OSCE. We expect that others will also act concretely and constructively, instead of spreading unsubstantiated accusations and insinuations," said the Russian diplomat.

The Ambassador said that Russia is “offering all kinds of assistance to the investigation," highlighting that Russian Civil Aviation Authorities “promptly formulated questions that need to be clarified to reveal the full picture of the tragedy."

Malaysian Boeing disaster – Russia’s questions to Ukraine

At the same time, Churkin pointed out that despite the willingness of anti-Kiev forces to cooperate with the efforts of the investigators, as noted by Australia's MH17 special envoy and former Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the investigative team is still having trouble reaching the crash site.

“One of the key provisions of the resolution, which was included at the insistence of the Russian delegation, is the requirement to immediately, in the area adjacent to the site of the disaster, cease all military action in order to allow for safety and security during the international investigation.”

‘Vicious circle of violence’

Churkin reminded that the world hoped that the Berlin Declaration of July 2 would be able to break the “vicious circle of violence,” but Kiev has shown no mercy since then.

“However, in practice the cruelty of Kiev authorities in fighting is going through the roof. Donetsk, Lugansk, Gorlovka and many other localities have undergone massive bombardments, including indiscriminate Grad fire and aerial assaults,” Churkin said, pointing out that residential buildings, hospitals and transportation hubs are deliberately being bombed.

READ MORE: Kiev’s ‘chivalrous’ atrocities: Moscow UN envoy slams Poroshenko jive

A woman walks out of a damaged multi-storey block of flats carrying her belongings following what locals say was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in central Donetsk, July 29, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

In most cases, Churkin pointed out, anti-Kiev forces were nowhere near those objects. He also raised questions about the reported use of ballistic missiles by the Ukrainian military, which is another clear sign of a “rampant military escalation.” Russia qualifies Kiev's actions as “a punitive operation against its own people,” the envoy said.

READ MORE: Kiev forces fire ballistic missiles into E. Ukraine

Russia is on the receiving end of the conflict, as hundreds of thousands refugees crossing into the Russian territory, more than 150,000 of whom already officially filed for temporary asylum and Russian citizenship, Churkin said. In the meantime Ukraine continues to shell Russian territory near the border, Churkin reminded.

The priority now, the diplomat said, should be to end the hostilities and to establish a peaceful negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva Declaration of April 17 and the Berlin Declaration of July 2.

‘Exclusionary’ diplomacy fails Palestinians

Touching on other issues, Churkin switched over to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, blaming the US for its approach to mediating the violent crisis.

“As the practice shows, crises in Israeli-Palestinian relations often arise as a result of failure of US unilateral efforts to reconcile the warring parties. We have repeatedly pointed out that the 'exclusionary' method has exhausted itself,” he said, adding that a new mechanism of crisis resolution is needed to deal with this urgent matter.

Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza City July 30, 2014. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)