MH17 relatives protest against Russia with 298 empty chairs

Full Screen
1 / 10

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

A picture of Bryce Fredriksz and his girlfriend Daisy is placed amidst 298 empty chairs, each chair for one of the 298 victims of the downed Malaysia Air flight MH17, in a park opposite the Russian embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, Sunday, March 8, 2020. A missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine in 2014, tore the MH17 passenger jet apart killing all 298 people on board. United by grief across oceans and continents, families who lost loved hope that the trial which starts Monday March 9, 2020, will finally deliver them something that has remained elusive ever since: The truth. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong

THE HAGUE – The families of people killed when a missile shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 set out 298 white chairs outside the Russian Embassy on Sunday in a silent protest against Moscow’s lack of cooperation in the investigation into the downing of the passenger jet.

The chairs — laid out in rows like seats in an airplane — represented the victims who died when a Buk missile fired from territory held by pro-Russia separatist rebels shot down the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight on July 17, 2014, killing everybody on board.

The families stood in silence for two minutes after arranging the chairs and signs including one that read: “Impunity = unacceptable! Someone knows what happened ... Justice for MH17.”

The protest came on the eve of a Dutch trial for three Russians and a Ukrainian charged with murders for their alleged roles in the missile strike.

Russia denies involvement and has dismissed the international investigation that led to the four suspects being charged, saying it is prejudiced against Moscow.

Relatives accuse Russian authorities of seeking to hide the facts about exactly what happened.

Piet Ploeg, who lost his brother, Alex, his sister-in-law and his nephew, said families weren't accusing Russia of downing the Boeing 777.

"But we are having a protest against the lack of cooperation of the Russian state in the investigation of the downing of MH17. And we want them to cooperate and stop obstructing the investigations."