Malaysia, Australia seek justice for MH17 victims
The governments of Malaysia and Australia on Wednesday reiterated their determination to bring justice to the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down in eastern Ukraine with 298 people on board five years ago.
"Five years might have passed, but our resolve for accountability and justice would not wane. The Malaysian government will continue to pursue those who were responsible for this heinous crime and justice for the victims," the Malaysian transport ministry said in a statement.
"We will remain resolute in our pursuit, and we will leave no stone unturned until justice is served," it concluded, reported Efe news.
The aircraft, which was traveling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired from an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia militias, according to the official investigation.
Australia on Wednesday also spoke out about holding Russia responsible for bringing down the plane.
"Together with the Netherlands we are engaging in talks with the Russian Federation arising out of our joint assertion on 25 May 2018 of Russia's state responsibility for its role in the downing," Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement on the fifth anniversary of the crash.
After the Joint Investigation Team published its report last year, the Netherlands and Australia - the two countries with the most crash victims - formally held Russia responsible for "participating" in the downing of MH17.
Payne said the JIT took a "significant step towards justice and accountability" when it last month moved to indict three Russians and a Ukrainian over the incident.
"The Australian Government remains resolute in its commitment to pursuing accountability for the downing and to achieving justice for the victims and their loved ones," her statement said.
The JIT's June report, which announced that charges would be pressed against the suspects in the Netherlands, was met with criticism from Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who denounced alleged political motivations for incriminating Russia and demanded proof of guilt.
However, in its statement on Wednesday, the Malaysian government said that it would continue working with members of the JIT.
Family members of the Australian victims of the incident gathered in front of the Russian consulate in Sydney on Wednesday. There they left black cards with the names of the dead and read a letter urging Moscow to stop its "denials and lies."
"We reiterate our deepest condolences to the families and relatives of the victims of this terrible crime," the Russian Embassy in Australia tweeted on its official account.
Russia has vehemently denied the inquiry commission's two main arguments: that the missile was launched from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists and that it had been transported from Russia, where it may have been sent back to after the catastrophe. IANS