Members of the United Nations Security Council today firmly rejected Russia’s attempt to discredit the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and reaffirmed their support for the International Dutch-led criminal investigation.

I thanked the Government of the Netherlands for its outstanding leadership of the investigation and underlined Australia’s commitment to return investigators to the crash site when it is safe to do so, in the company of our Dutch and Malaysian partners.

However, the security situation around the crash site still remains of grave concern and I demanded that Russia immediately cease its support for the armed separatists so that international investigators can return safely to the crash site of MH17, as required in Security Council’s Resolution 2166.

I welcomed the release on 9 September of the preliminary report from the Dutch Safety Board as a clear step towards achieving the full, thorough and independent international investigation sought by Resolution 2166.

The Australian Government’s initial assessment was that MH17 was shot down by a surface to air missile. While the preliminary report has not yet reached its final conclusions, the aircraft damage shown in the report is consistent with our assessment.

I also thanked the Governments of the Netherlands and Malaysia for their vital partnership with Australia on the recovery effort. Authorities in the Netherlands have worked painstakingly to identify the victims. The circumstances of the tragedy have made this process slow and difficult, compounding the burden for grieving families.

Despite Russia’s attempts to undermine the credible and thorough international investigation underway, other Security Council members and those who lost citizens on flight MH17 joined with Australia, the Netherlands and Malaysia in their determination to achieve justice for the victims.

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