The Nine Year Anniversary of the Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Katherine Brucker
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
July 20, 2023
Last Monday marked nine years since the July 17, 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight #17, or MH-17, over Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. The United States joins other OSCE participating States in honoring the memory of all 298 victims — 193 from The Netherlands, 43 from Malaysia, 27 from Australia, 12 from Indonesia, 10 from the United Kingdom, four from Belgium, four from Germany, three from the Philippines, one from New Zealand, and one from Canada. One of the victims held both U.S. and Dutch citizenship. We again extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all who were lost that day.
Our commemoration this year again takes place under the shadow of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has included war crimes and other atrocities and abuses committed by members of Russia’s forces, including the Kremlin’s ongoing forcible transfer and deportation of Ukraine’s children.
There must be justice for the passengers of flight MH-17 whose lives were senselessly cut short. There must also be justice for all victims of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its people. Last year, the District Court of The Hague found three members of Russia’s proxy forces in eastern Ukraine guilty for their roles in the downing of the plane. While this is a solid step towards justice, more work lies ahead to ensure that all those responsible for the downing of MH-17 are held to account. Russia’s continued refusal to cooperate with international efforts to establish accountability is yet another example of its flagrant disregard for international law.