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7/17/15

UKRAINE: Victims’ families mark MH17 crash one year anniversary

Families of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which crashed over eastern Ukraine a year ago, are marking the anniversary amid calls for a UN-backed tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the downing. Memorial services are being held in several countries, including the Netherlands (196 dead) and Australia, home to many of the 298 victims of Flight MH17, which was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, when it was shot down.

On Friday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott unveiled a permanent memorial to the Australian victims in the nation's capital, Canberra. The memorial, which features a plaque inscribed with the names of Australians who were killed, is set in soil that a police officer brought back from Ukraine.

"He knew that the place where MH17 came to rest was sacred and that a piece of it should come back to Australia," Abbott said. "It was a humane and decent thing for him to know and do. It was a contrast to the savagery that brought down the plane."

Abbott and his wife then laid a wreath at the base of the plaque. Dozens of family members of the victims followed, many in tears, as they laid flowers alongside the wreath in honour of their loved ones.

In the Ukrainian village where the airliner was downed, residents carrying flowers gathered in the church in the center of Hrabove at the start of a procession to the crash site in nearby fields.

Friday's ceremony will include the dedication of a small stone with a plaque. The commemoration has been organized by local leaders and the Russia-backed separatist rebels who control the area.

Memorial services are being held in several countries, including the Netherlands and Australia, home to many of the 298 victims of Flight MH17, which was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, when it was shot down.


Read more: Asia-pacific - Victims’ families mark MH17 crash anniversary - France 24

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