RFE/RL. More than 2,000 relatives will gather in the Netherlands to unveil a memorial to family members on the third anniversary of the day when Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over conflict-torn Ukraine.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima on July 17 will join other international officials at a ceremony to dedicate the memorial in the park of Vijfhuizen near Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
The doomed flight took off from Schiphol on July 17, 2014.
Family members will read the names of the 298 passengers and crew killed in the disaster.
There were 17 nationalities on board, mostly Dutch but also Australians, Britons, Malaysians, and Indonesians.
A total of 298 trees have been planted in the shape of a green ribbon, one for each of the victims who died on the Malaysia Airlines plane when it was shot down during its flight to Kuala Lumpur.
Calling it a “living memorial,” organizers said the trees will be surrounded by sunflowers, which bloom in July and will “radiate a golden glow” over the site.
Dutch investigators concluded in 2015 that the jet was shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile over eastern Ukrainian territory held by Russia-backed separatists.
Russia, which denies any involvement in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, also denies one of its rockets could have been used to bring down MH17.
However, some 15 relatives of the victims demonstrated on July 16 in front of the Russian Embassy in The Hague against attempts by Moscow to block investigations into the disaster.
The demonstrators set a sign in front of the embassy saying: “Waiting for responsibility and full disclosure.”
No suspects have been arrested. Dutch authorities have said any eventual trials would be held in The Netherlands.
Photo – Family members prepare a memorial to victims of flight MH17 in the Netherlands (RFE/RL).