By Karlis Salna
Russia has blocked a push at the United Nations Security Council, led by Malaysia and supported by other nations including New Zealand and Australia, to establish an international criminal tribunal to bring to justice those responsible for the downing of MH17.
The resolution that would have established the tribunal was vetoed by Russia during a meeting of the Security Council, chaired by New Zealand, in New York, despite an intense round of lobbying.
There were also three abstentions from China, Angola and Venezuela.
The resolution was proposed by Malaysia and backed by New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Ukraine and other countries.
Moscow's permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, had earlier vowed that Russia would veto the move.
The Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 last year, an hour into its flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 passengers and crew, including two New Zealanders and 39 Australian citizens and residents, were killed.
Russia has denied any involvement in the shooting down of the airliner, but a Dutch-led investigation due to report in October is believed to support claims Russian-backed separatists were responsible.
The resolution was supported by 11 countries with Russia – as one of five permanent members with veto power - the only nation to vote against the proposal.