Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said “punishment for all [Russia’s] atrocities then & now is inevitable” after two Russian nationals and a Ukrainian were handed life sentences in absentia by a Dutch court for the murder of 298 people onboard flight MH17 in 2014. The plane was shot down over Ukraine by a Russian-made BUK missile fired by the men, who were part of a pro-Russia separatist movement.
All 298 people on board the plane perished when it crashed near the town of Hrabovo. The perpetrators were also ordered to pay more than €16m in compensation to the victims.
Among those on board was a family from Roeser. British citizen Andrew Hoare, his Dutch wife Estella, and their two sons Jasper and Friso, aged 14 and 12 at the time, were bound for a trekking holiday in Borneo. Andrew had been a long-term resident of Luxembourg and was involved in the Grand Duchy Hash House Harriers running group as well as local theatre groups.
The Hoare family had described him as a “warm, funny and wonderful man whose smile and character lit up a room.” At the time, the tributes said that “Estella was beautiful, intelligent, spoke 5 languages fluently and had a very infectious laugh. Jasper had a brilliant young mind and Friso was a talented musician and peacemaker.”
The chair of the MH17 Aviation Disaster Foundation, which spoke on behalf of relatives, was cited in The Guardian as saying the group was pleased that justice has been done.
Zelensky also said it was crucial that the masterminds also be held to account. “The feeling of impunity leads to new crimes,” Zelensky said. “We must dispel this illusion.”