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UN approves crash probe resolution

The UN Security Council has approved a resolution calling for an international investigation into the Malaysia Airlines plane downed in Ukraine.

It came after Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said his nation backed the resolution, effectively assuring it would pass.

Diplomats had pressured a reluctant Moscow to approve the Australia-proposed resolution that demands international access to the crash site and a ceasefire around the area.

Of the 298 people aboard flight MH17 when it went down, 37 were Australian.

Australia said the unanimous approval was an unambiguous response to an "utterly deplorable act".

Foreign minister Julie Bishop told the council there had been "grotesque violations" of the crash site, and the resolution demands that armed groups controlling the site must allow immediate and unimpeded access to allow recovery of bodies.

Ms Bishop also said rebels must also stop actions that compromise the integrity of the crash site.

She said the victims "must be treated with dignity".

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