Sat, 07 Dec 2019

Relatives of victims killed in the 2014 downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine are marking the anniversary of the tragedy, an incident that international investigators have blamed on Russia and the separatist forces it backs in the region.

Dozens of family members and other dignitaries gathered on July 17 near Amsterdam's main airport at a monument where the names of those killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 were to be read aloud.

The ceremony was to include a priest blessing sunflowers grown from seeds brought from eastern Ukraine.

In all, 298 people died, 193 of them Dutch citizens, when the airliner flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was shot down by an antiaircraft missile over territory controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

/**/ /**/ /**/ SEE ALSO: Ukraine Live Blog: The Crisis In The East

In Malaysia, nine embassies whose citizens were killed were scheduled to hold a memorial service; 43 Malaysians died in the incident. Other victims came from countries including Australia, Canada, Britain, and Belgium.

Investigators from the Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team have concluded that a Russian military brigade transported a Buk missile system to and from Ukraine, across the border with Russia.

In June, the team accused three Russians with military and intelligence backgrounds and a Ukrainian man with no prior military experience. Those included Igor Girkin, a retired colonel from Russia's main intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB). He has dismissed the accusations.

The four are scheduled to be put on trial for murder in the Netherlands starting in March 2020, though all are believed to be in Russia and are unlikely to be extradited.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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