Speech

"Those who were responsible in the shooting down of MH-17 must be held accountable"

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Explanation of Vote delivered by UK Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant on adoption of Resolution 2166 on MH17

Mr President,

The United Kingdom welcomes the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2166.

I would like to warmly thank Australia, for its leadership in steering this resolution to adoption. I would also like to acknowledge the presence here today of the Foreign Ministers of Australia, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Allow me to take this opportunity to reiterate our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the citizens and governments of all those countries who have lost nationals in this tragedy and are now in mourning. In the United Kingdom we too are in mourning for the 10 Britons who were killed.

Mr President,

We have all seen the images. The blackened earth. The twisted metal. We have all seen those countless wooden stakes, each tied with a piece of white cloth, fluttering in the corn fields of eastern Ukraine – each marking the place of a family member, or loved one.

Mr President,

We owe it to the memory of those 298 victims to ensure that their remains are treated with dignity and respect. And we owe it to them to find out exactly what happened on the afternoon of 17 July.

That is the purpose of Resolution 2166. It is a united demand by the whole international community for the dignified, respectful and professional treatment and recovery of the bodies of the victims. What we have witnessed over the past days has been sickening and appalling beyond belief. We have seen separatist thugs trampling over the site of the crash, showing no respect for the bodies of the victims, rifling through their belongings and even looting their personal effects. They have shown a complete disregard for human dignity and violated the established procedures for dealing with an incident of this nature.

This resolution requires the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site and the surrounding area to allow the bodies of the victims to be returned to their families as soon as possible. It is inexcusable that this process has been obstructed for the past 4 days.

Second, this resolution is about the investigation into what happened. The resolution supports a full, thorough and independent international investigation and it recognises the steps already taken by the Ukrainian Authorities and other international stakeholders, notably ICAO, to set this in motion. It demands that the separatists do not further compromise the integrity of the crash site. We have all seen the images of cranes and other heavy machinery disturbing the wreckage, and the footage released yesterday that appears to show one of the flight recorders being removed from the site. This is completely unacceptable. The site must be preserved and investigators must immediately be granted safe, secure, full and unrestricted access.

Finally, the Council is sending a strong message on accountability. Those who were responsible – and those who were complicit – in the shooting down of MH-17 must be held accountable for their actions. The resolution demands that all States must cooperate fully with these efforts.

Mr President

The context for this tragedy is Russia’s attempt to destabilise a sovereign state and violate its territorial integrity. The events of the past four days should serve as a wake-up call in Moscow and prompt a profound re-examination of Russia’s policy of supporting, training and arming violent separatists in eastern Ukraine.

I thank you.