Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an immediate halt to hostilities in eastern Ukraine so that international investigators can gain access to the site where a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight crashed earlier this month.
Both Mr. Ban and the United Nations Security Council have called for a full investigation into the crash of flight MH17, which went down in Donetsk Oblast on 17 July, resulting in the loss of 298 lives.
They have also urged armed groups to allow unfettered access to the crash site and ensure that its integrity is maintained.
A statement issued by his spokesperson today said that Mr. Ban is “deeply disturbed” to learn that forensic teams and international investigators in Donetsk continue to be impeded from accessing the site and carrying out their critical work due to heavy fighting in the area.
“The Secretary-General calls on all parties to immediately halt hostilities in the proximity of the crash site so as to allow the international teams unimpeded access to the site,” said the statement.
Mr. Ban recalled that there are victims’ remains yet to be found and that key pieces of evidence remain at the site.
“The families of the victims of this horrific tragedy deserve closure and the world demands answers – international teams must be allowed to conduct their work,” the statement added.
In the wake of the crash, the Council was told that while the UN had no independent verification of the circumstances regarding the incident, there was credible, numerous reports suggesting that a sophisticated surface-to-air missile was used.
The apparent deliberate downing of the flight over eastern Ukraine, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the 15-member body, highlighted the need for an urgent resumption of a ceasefire and a serious effort to end the ongoing crisis in that country.