The Embassy of Ukraine together with the Ukrainian community of Australia held a very moving ceremony to commemorate the victims of MH17 at national memorial in Canberra.
Representatives from the Australian government, DFAT, AFP, JIT countries and the grieving nations, as well as the head of the Australian MH17 recovery mission, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston, First Ambassador of Australia to Ukraine Mr Doug Trappett, AFP Acting Commander Mark McIntyre, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Ms Stephanie Hunt, Chair of AFUO, Mr Stefan Romaniw and Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Sydney Mr Jaroslav Duma all participated in the ceremony.
In her remarks Charge d`Affares of Ukraine in Australia, Mrs Halyna Yusypiuk underlined that the MH17 monument is set in soil brought back from the crash site by an Australian police officer, that from the very beginning, Ukraine has cooperated in the investigation and that Australian Ukrainians personally have shared the tragedy of victim's families.
Mrs Yusypiuk noted that five years on and the sky over Eastern Ukraine is still closed to flights. And despite the JIT report, MH17 families are yet to hear words of regret and recognition from Russia which took the lives of their loved ones.
"We pray for a day when the war in Ukraine will end and they will be able to visit the crash site and walk around the sunflower fields", said the diplomat.
The commemorative Service was conducted by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora and His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, Archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora. Metropolitan Antony’s words about the people-to-people approach during the tragedy touched the audience deeply.
Co-chair of the AFUO Mr Stefan Romaniw called for coordinated efforts to bring to account those responsible for the MH17 downing and for justice and memory eternal for MH17 victims.
Children from the Ukrainian community of Canberra, Katia Levics and Polina and Alex Trukhanov laid a bunch of flowers containing 38 sunflowers at the monument, one sunflower for each Australian life lost.