A statement on the fifth anniversary of the shooting down of MH17

To the Russian Federation from some affected families 1

July 17, 2019

Five years ago, our family members got on a plane in Amsterdam to make their way home.

Not far into the journey, their plane was shot out of the sky by a missile from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian army. Our beloved family members were all murdered in a brutal and senseless act.

Five years on, our grief is less raw but no less deep. The sudden and violent death of the ones we love pervades our lives. We are different people now.

We live with our loss the best we can. The loss for the people who were killed is total – their lives, their futures, everything. It is out of love for them that we want the truth about MH17 to be told and responsibility for this crime to be determined. We stand with MH17 families in the Netherlands, Malaysia and all the affected nations in calling on the Russian government to:

  1. Cooperate fully with the investigation, as you have promised in Resolution 2166 of the United Nations Security Council, but have so far failed to do.2
  2. Take your share of responsibility for the shooting down of MH17.
  3. Stop your disingenuous denials, your lies and deceit.

To this point there has been no acknowledgement by the Russian state of their involvement in the shooting down of MH17. Worse, Russia has spread multiple, bogus and contradictory explanations about what happened. This has taken place on a massive scale through social media but also through the main state sponsored media channels. It took time for us to realise that this barrage of conflicting theories was the result of a state orchestrated campaign of denial, distraction and distortion. The Russian government has done its best to hide the truth, or worse, convey the idea that there is no reliable truth to be found. We the families of MH17 have found this disturbing and deeply offensive.

We realise that no court proceedings will make a difference to the depth of our grief or reduce the gaping hole in our lives. Still, the truth about what happened to MH17 exists and it matters. A trial will allow all the evidence to be properly tested and the truth to be firmly established. A trial also sends the important message that you cannot kill innocent people and expect no consequences.

We want those directly responsible for committing this crime, along with the chain of command above them, to be named and for history to know who they are and what they have done. We want them to be held to account. We will continue to call for this until it happens. We can do no less.

1 This statement is from six Australian families, along with three Malaysian families and one family from New Zealand. Together we grieve and speak for 16 people on MH17.

2 UN Security Council resolution 2166, 21st July, 2014

Reaffirmed the rule of international law that prohibit acts of violence that pose a threat to the safety of international aviation

Clause 4 “…..calls on all states to provide any requested assistance to civil and criminal investigations related to this incident”

Clause 11 “Demands that those responsible for this incident be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability”

This statement is from:

For Michael Clancy and Carol Clancy

Jane Malcolm Andrew Malcolm Glenda Chalmers
Bob Chalmers Ruth Scott Michael Scott
Evan Scott Jenna Scott Lindsay Scott

For Roger Guard and Jill Guard

Paul Guard

For Susan Horder and Howard Horder

Matthew Horder David Horder Adam Horder

For Jack O’Brien

Meryn O’Brien Jon O’Brien Bronwyn O’Brien
Rick O’Brien Jean McKendrick Shirley Looby

For Victor Oreshkin

Serge Oreshkin Vera Oreshkin

For Elaine Teoh Ee Ling

Teoh Kooi Weng Lim Swee Yim Evonne Teoh Ee Vern
David Teoh Qi-En    

For Sister Philomene Tiernan

Sister Joan Pender

For Nur Shazana (Crew member)

Salleh Samsuddin

For Paul Sivagnanam, Mabel Soosai Sivagnanam and Matthew Ezekiel Sivagnanam

Patrick Sivagnanam

For Henk Tournier and Ineke Westerveld Tournier

Nanda Tournier Julian Bright Jack Bright