There were no Ukrainians onboard flight MH17 when it was shot down on July 17, 2014. But since the day the plane fell into over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people onboard, Ukrainian communities around the world have been marking the tragedy in different ways.
There were no Ukrainians onboard flight MH17 when it was shot down on July 17, 2014.
But since the day the plane fell into over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people onboard, Ukrainian communities around the world have been marking the tragedy in different ways.Prayer service for the innocent victims of Malaysian Airlines Flights MH17 held at Volodymyr’s Ukrainian Catholic Church with service conducted by Father Wolodymyr Kalinecki, Father Lawrence Foote and Father Michael Solomko.
The Malaysia Airlines flight was travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur when it was destroyed by a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.
Canberran Liliane Derden was one of the 27 Australian victims.
Speaking at a small commemorative service at the St Volodymyr’s Catholic Church in Lyneham to mark four years since the event, Halyna Yusypiuk of the Ukrainian Embassy said many in her community felt connected to the downing of the MH17.
“At the time, the conflict with Russia had already started, they occupied Crimea and they moved their forces to eastern Ukraine, and we had already two planes shot down by Russian military, but these were military ones,” she said.
“We had already had around 100 casualties before, but these were military casualties... They were soldiers. At that time, when this passenger flight was shot down, it was the first time that children had suffered in this tragedy.”
She said she was working on the Malaysia desk in Ukraine in 2014, getting ready to leave work on an ordinary summer Thursday, when she learned about the flight being shot down.
“It was an incredibly shocking fact, and it was very surreal, because the people who came to Ukraine to mourn their relatives, they didn't even know about this war, they personally had very little to do with it,” she said.
“It was one more act of Russian aggression that in this case led to the death of foreigners and foreign children. That's why all Ukrainians in Australia have such a personal perception of this tragedy.
“We [had] commemorative events all over Australia today, Ukraine is always open-hearted and our community is always rendering support.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, Netherlands ambassador Erica Schouten said while Dutch authorities were continuing to seek justice for the victims of the MH17 shooting - 196 of whom were Dutch - the anniversary itself was a time for commemoration rather than politics.
“We think that it's very important that today we concentrate on the anniversary and not on all the politics around it,” she said.
“The Netherlands government will continue to fight for truth and justice, and we have a very strong partnership with Australia and with the other countries involved, but discussions about that are for another day. We very much appreciate that the community is organising this.”