The Russian Federation’s ambassador to the United Nations on Friday blamed Ukraine’s government in Kiev for failing to take steps needed to ensure the safety of passenger aircraft, and said that failure was a major factor in the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian Federation’s ambassador to the UN, said in New York Friday that investigators should be asking why the plane was allowed to travel through airspace that has seen missile strikes in the last several weeks.
“Why did the Ukraine aviation dispatchers send a passenger flight to an area of military clashes, an area which was being used for carrying out strikes against civilian targets?” Churkin asked through an interpreter.
Churkin said aviation authorities have responsibilities to ensure aircraft are secure, and said Kiev’s authorities should also be investigated.
“It would seem that there would be need to be investigation not only of the disaster but also the extent to which the Ukrainian aviation authorities carried out their obligations,” he said.
Churkin’s remarks came after U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power sharply criticized Russia for continuing to foment violence in Ukraine and near Ukraine from pro-Russia separatists. Power said several Ukrainian aircraft have been shot down from these separatists, and said Russia may be giving them the technical aid their need to carry out these missions.
On Friday, a correspondent for Russia Today resigned, and accused the network of “spreading lies” for Putin.
But Churkin rejected that, and warned the UN not to jump to conclusions.
“Pressure shouldn’t be bought to bear on this investigation trying to prejudge its outcome with broad statements and insinuations that aren’t justified,” he said.
Churkin was followed at the UN by Yuriy Sergeyev, the Ukrainian ambassador, who indicated that he too believes separatists are using weapons and expertise that Russia is providing.
“The question is where they got this sophisticated air defense system from,” he said. “This tragedy would not have been possible if Russia did not support the terrorists and did not provide a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system… to terrorists from Russia.”