Thursday, 9 December, 2021

MH17 Ukraine disaster: Memorials held for crash victims

MH17 Ukraine disaster: Memorials held for crash victims
All 298 people on board the Malaysia Airlines plane lost their lives after the jet crashed into a field in eastern Ukraine

Popular News

Emotional services are being held to mark the first anniversary of the MH17 air disaster over eastern Ukraine, in which 298 people died.


A service was held at the Ukrainian village closest to where the Malaysian airliner came down, followed by a procession to the crash site.


Ceremonies are also being held in the Netherlands, where the majority of the victims were from.


Earlier, Australia held a memorial for its 38 citizens who died in the crash.


Pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels are widely believed to have shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Russia denies this, blaming Ukrainian government forces for the disaster in the eastern Donetsk region.


In Hrabove, the Ukrainian village closest to the crash site, about 200 residents gathered in a church for a memorial service and held a procession to a newly unveiled memorial plaque to the victims.


The mourners, mainly women and children, carried flowers and icons and chanted Orthodox liturgical music. The perimeter of the procession was guarded by men in Soviet military uniforms, the Associated Press reports.


In the Netherlands, which lost 193 victims, flags are flying at half mast and flowers have been laid at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport from where MH17 took off.


A service will be held for the families in Nieuwegein later and is expected to be attended by about 2,000 people including Prime Minister Mark Rutte.


Earlier on Friday, family and friends of the 38 Australians lost in the crash gathered for a memorial service at Parliament House in Canberra.


Wreaths and flowers were laid before a newly unveiled plaque with the names of the victims, which has been placed in the garden and set in soil that was brought back from Ukraine by an Australian police officer.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke of the "innocent people living their lives to the full... shot out of the sky in a war of aggression by one country against a smaller neighbour."


He said Australia owed it "to the dead to bring the guilty to justice".


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop read a message from Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris, whose three children - Evie, Mo and Otis - were killed alongside their grandfather Nick Norris.


"Our family was an innocent victim of a faraway war. They were killed by other people's anger," they said. "We try not to become involved in what we see as a devastating surge of sadness, suffering and anger in the world today."