TORONTO (Reuters) - Russia is calling on the United Nations Security Council to help protect civilian jets from anti-aircraft weapons after the downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine last year.
The Russian position comes after it dismissed proposals by the U.N.'s aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as "superficial."
The Security Council is much more powerful than Montreal-based ICAO, a specialized agency that sets safety standards for global aviation. Its guidelines typically become regulatory requirements in its 191 member states.
ICAO needs "a mechanism of cooperation with the U.N. Security Council, state military authorities and military-political unions in order to timely detect potential threats to civil aviation flight safety and to respond to these threats," said Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee, which oversees civil aviation in the former Soviet Union.
Russia outlined its stance in documents released ahead of a major U.N. air safety conference in Montreal on Feb. 2-5. ICAO's proposal, which is on next week's agenda, has gotten U.S. backing.
ICAO has been under pressure to come up with new systems to protect aircraft from risks in conflict zones after Malaysia Airlines MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down in Ukraine last July, killing all 298 people on board.
The incident occurred during fighting between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The United States said the plane was hit with a ground-to-air missile by rebels. Russia says a Ukrainian military aircraft downed it.
Last week, Reuters reported that the United States would back an ICAO proposal on flight safety over conflict zones, which would test a central website where states and agencies could publish public warnings about conflict zones.
Russia has not commented on that proposal, but in October the country lashed out in a paper obtained by Reuters, calling ICAO's ongoing work on conflict zones "superficial" and outside its mandate.
Russia is in an unusual position at ICAO. Blamed by the West for supplying rebels with anti-aircraft missiles, a charge it denies, it must still work closely with Ukraine and other powers at ICAO to keep the global aviation system running smoothly.
(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Richard Chang)