Today marks the fourth anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. On this day, 298 passengers and crew were killed when a surface-to-air missile shot down the civilian aircraft carrying loved ones home, on holiday and to work.
We remember those who lost their lives, especially the 38 people who called Australia home. Our thoughts are also with those who loved and were loved by them. We continue to grieve with them.
We pay tribute to the Australian servicemen and women, police, diplomats and others, who travelled to Ukraine and the Netherlands to investigate the crash, bring the victims home and continue to uncover the truth.
We commend the ongoing meticulous work of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which involves investigative authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. This year the JIT released further significant findings from its criminal investigation, including that the missile system used to down MH17 belonged to the Russian army.
On 25 May 2018, Australia and the Netherlands announced that we hold Russia responsible for its role in the downing. We hope that through negotiations with Russia we can open dialogue around the circumstances leading to the tragic loss of innocent lives.
We owe that to the memory of the victims and their families and friends.