The families of the 298 people killed in the crash of flight MH17 shot down in 2014 over Ukraine have demanded justice from Russia, testifying on Monday in the trial of four suspects tried in the Netherlands in absentia.
The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, which left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, was shot down over the area of armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board, including 196 Dutch, were killed.
Moscow denies any involvement
Relatives of victims told judges that they cannot really grieve until those responsible are tried.
The international team of investigators, led by the Netherlands, established in 2018 that the plane was shot down by a BUK missile from the 53rd Russian anti-aircraft brigade based in Kursk (southwest).
The Netherlands and Australia have openly accused Russia of the deaths of its nationals. Moscow, for its part, has always vehemently denied any involvement in the crash and blamed Kiev.
Ria van der Steen, who lost her father Jan and her mother-in-law Nell, quoted Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008): “They lie, we know they lie, they know that we know that they lie. I am filled with feelings of revenge, hatred, anger and fear, ”added the one who was the first to testify among the relatives of the victims.
“I know they are dead and I will not see them again, but I cannot stop this farewell process, certainly until those responsible for their deaths are convicted for what they did”.
The Russians Sergei Dubinsky, Igor Guirkine and Oleg Poulatov, as well as the Ukrainian Leonid Khartchenko, four high-ranking pro-Russian separatists from eastern Ukraine, are being prosecuted by the Dutch prosecution for murder. Only Poulatov has a legal representative.
The Australian Vanessa Rizk whose parents Albert and Maree had taken this flight after returning from vacation in Europe, those responsible “deserve to be punished for their acts of hatred”.
“How would the authors feel if they were their loved ones?” How would (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his corrupt Russian government respond to that? ”She launched, in a video link from Australia.
His brother James echoed him saying that his parents had been the victims of a conflict which did not concern them.
“Russia’s disinformation, Russia’s lack of involvement and its denials amazes me,” he said.
Around 90 relatives of the victims, both Dutch, Australian and Malaysian, are due to speak in court in the coming days.
The main judge, Hendrik Steenhuis, chose September 22, 2022 as a possible date for the verdict but also gave other dates in November and December of that year.