The warning from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin comes as the United Nations prepares to vote on an Australia-led resolution to establish a criminal tribunal in relation to the downed flight.
All 298 passengers and crew, including 39 Australian citizens and residents, were killed when the plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 last year, an hour into its flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Mr Klimkin said the risk of further attacks would be increased if the resolution failed.
“If we don’t set up this tribunal we would get across the message that anyone who could be behind any kind of similar tragedy would go unpunished.”
“If we don’t set up this tribunal we would get across the message that anyone who could be behind any kind of similar tragedy would go unpunished,” he said.
“It would give the most terrible message, not just for Ukraine, for Australia, for the Netherlands but for the international community, because the international community will be impotent to deliver in such cases.”
Russia appears certain to veto the resolution with its permanent representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has vowed that Russia will veto the move despite 11th-hour efforts by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to shore up international support for the plan.
During an hour-long meeting with Mr Churkin in New York, Ms Bishop appealed for Moscow to reconsider a veto, telling the ambassador that it would not be in Russia’s interest.
“I asked him to go back to Moscow to seek instructions to not use its veto, and that Russia should reserve its veto for matters which really count towards Russia’s national interest,” she said.
“This would not serve Russia’s national interest, in seeking to deny the families of those aboard MH17 justice.”
The vote will take place open Wednesday in New York (Thursday morning AEST).