Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine is a painful reminder of the tragic downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, says Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles on the eighth anniversary of the disaster.
On its way from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam, the Boeing 777 airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew including 38 Australians and 193 Dutch travellers.
Australia’s legal proceedings against Russia over the affair are being made alongside the Netherlands to the International Civil Aviation Organisation in a bid to force the payment of reparations.
As part of the action, the two countries are seeking a declaration Russia broke the international civil aviation convention, known as the Chicago Convention.
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Mr Marles says Australia is steadfast in its commitment to seek truth, justice and accountability for the victims of the downed flight.
“Our thoughts remain with those who lost their lives, their families and loved ones,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
“Since 2018, Australia has maintained that the Russian Federation is responsible under international law for the downing of Flight MH17.
“This is based on the strong body of evidence presented by the Joint Investigation Team.”
The EU’s top diplomat has also issued a statement expressing sympathy over the tragedy.
“The European Union reiterates its full support for all efforts to establish the truth, achieving justice for the 298 victims of the downing of Flight MH17 and their next of kin and holding those responsible to account,” foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in the Netherlands have requested life sentences for four Russian and Ukrainian men on charges connected to the downing of the jet with a Russian-made Buk missile.
“We commend the progress in the Dutch criminal trials of the individuals for their alleged involvement and look forward to the delivery of verdicts,” Mr Marles said.
“Australia condemns Russia’s unilateral, illegal, and immoral aggression against the people of Ukraine,” he added.
“It is a painful reminder of the tragic circumstances surrounding the downing of Flight MH17.”