Malaysia has told the United Nations Security Council that it plans to push for a UN backed criminal tribunal to prosecute those suspected of bringing down its passenger airline MH17 in eastern Ukraine last year.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft was shot down in July last year while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 passengers on board. It crashed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
"Malaysia briefed the council members this morning of their intention to present a resolution in relation to MH17," said New Zealand's UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the UN Security Council.
"They are seeking to find a mechanism to deal with criminal accountability in relation to the downing of the aircraft, "he said, according to Reuters. The proposal is a joint one by Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine.
Russia say proposal premature, say diplomats
Reuters reported that diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia has described the proposal as premature and believed that the security council should wait for the results of other investigations first.
Russia's UN mission has declined to comment, the news agency said.
Russia's deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has publicly said that his country opposes plans to create an international tribunal to investigate the downing of MH17, saying that it was "untimely and counterproductive."
"I expect that issue to be the subject of quite intensive consultations in the course of the coming months," Van Bohemen told reporters. Malaysia has yet to circulate the draft resolution, he added.
Russia has veto powers in the 15-member security council, along with the US, China, Britain and France. It can block the proposal if it is put to a vote, Reuters noted.
The Netherlands has taken the lead in a multinational investigation that includes Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine. Russian investigators are also looking into the crash.