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Australia, Netherlands sue Russia for bombing MH17 aircraft, killing 298 civilians

Australia, Netherlands sue Russia for bombing MH17 aircraft, killing 298 civilians

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Australia and the Netherlands said they have commenced a joint legal action against Russia at the International Civil Aviation Organisation for shooting down Malaysia Airlines’ aircraft (MH17) in 2014, killing 298 civilians.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne disclosed this in a statement, adding that Russia was responsible for the downing of the aeroplane, under international law.

Australia said the action in the United Nations aviation council was a step forward in the fight for justice for 298 victims, including 38 Australians.

The Dutch government said in a statement that the UN Security Council had also been informed of the step.

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“The death of 298 civilians, including 196 Dutch, cannot and should not remain without consequences. The current events in Ukraine underscore the vital importance of this,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in the statement.

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, when it was hit over rebel-held eastern Ukraine by what international investigators and prosecutors said was a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.

Moscow has always denied involvement and has promoted a range of alternative theories, which international investigators rejected as unsupported by evidence.

A verdict in the murder trial, involving three Russians and a Ukrainian who remain at large, was expected later this year.

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None of the defendants has attended the Dutch court.

Australia and the Netherlands would rely on evidence MH17 was shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile system transported from Russia to an area of eastern Ukraine under the control of Russian-backed separatists.

(Reuters/NAN)

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