malaysia airlines MH17 Ukraine
An armed pro-Russian separatist stands on part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region Reuters

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday whether to set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of bringing down Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine last year.

Last month Malaysia circulated a draft resolution seeking the formation of a tribunal. Russia however has proposed a rival draft seeking justice for victims of the passenger airliner but falls short of establishing a tribunal.

Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 over Ukrainian airspace after leaving Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur. The aircraft had 298 passengers on board.

New Zealand, the president of the UN Security Council has confirmed that the vote on the proposal by Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands and Ukraine to set up an international tribunal is set for Wednesday afternoon, Reuters reported..

Russian however is likely to veto the proposal, insisting that there is no need to set up a tribunal.

"Malaysia did include some language from our draft in their draft text but it did not go to the core of our concern, they kept insisting on the need to establish right now an international criminal court," Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told Reuters.

"This is not a proper thing for the Security Council to do because it's not a case of a threat to international peace and security," he said in a telephone interview.

While Churkin said he has not received definitive instructions from Moscow for Wednesday's vote, he said: "I have a very strong feeling that it's not going to lead to a result that will be satisfactory for the Security Council. We are against it."

Russia, together with four others – the US, the UK, France and China – have veto powers on resolutions put forward to the security council.

Reuters said several security council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they expect Russia to veto the resolution.