Relatives plead for justice on third anniversary of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17's shooting down over Ukraine

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Associated Press

Relatives and friends of people killed three years ago when a surface-to-air missile blew a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet out of the sky over Ukraine are marking the anniversary together with the Dutch king at a new memorial near the Amsterdam airport from which the plane departed.

Nearly 298 people die, many Dutch, when the plane Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine.
Source: Associated Press

This morning's commemoration comes as international investigators continue their painstaking probe aimed at bringing to justice those responsible for shooting down Flight 17 and killing all 298 passengers and crew.

New Zealanders Robert Ayley was one of the victims.

The Boeing 777 was destroyed by a Buk missile on July 17, 2014, over conflict-torn eastern Ukraine.

The international criminal probe has concluded that the missile was fired from rebel-controlled territory by a mobile launcher trucked in from Russia. Russia has denied any involvement, and denounced the conclusions as politically biased.

At the ceremony, a Dutch father, Evert van Zijtveld, pleaded for those who shot down the jet to be punished, as he mourns his two children and in-laws killed in the disaster. 

He said victims' families "shall not give up and shall not be silenced until those who are responsible have been brought to justice".

Speaking to relatives and friends of the 298 victims of the crash, Van Zijtveld said the loss of his 19-year-old daughter Frederique and 18-year-old son Robert-Jan "left a hole in our hearts".

He and other families spoke at a new memorial near the Amsterdam airport from which the plane departed. Van Zijtveld said, "Our loved ones together went on a journey on July 17, 2014, and this memorial forest symbolically unites them again".

An international criminal probe has concluded that the missile was fired from rebel-controlled territory by a mobile launcher trucked in from Russia. Russia has denied involvement.

The European Union foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, has called for international cooperation in the hunt for those responsible  and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is calling for justice.

Victims came from 17 countries, with 196 of them Dutch. The Dutch government said earlier this month that any suspects will be prosecuted in the Netherlands.

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