Thursday 19 September 2019

Australia mourns MH17 jet victims

Mourners embrace as they leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Mourners embrace as they leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
The parents of Australian MH17 victim Fatima Dyczynski, Dr Jezy Dyczynski and Angela Rudhart-Dyczynski (unseen) leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Tony Abbott (R), Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia and his wife Margie Abbott (R) along with Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne Cosgrove leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia; Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne Cosgrove leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia and his wife Margie Abbott leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia and his wife Margie Abbott along with Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne Cosgrove leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia and his wife Margie Abbott leave after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret (obscured) place wattle blossoms on a wreath as they attend a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
A grieving family member cries during a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
Australia's Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove (L), Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (C), his wife Margaret and Australian opposition Leader Bill Shorten (R) attends a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
Grieving relatives console each other during a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. The Government has declared Thursday 7 August 2014 to be a National Day of Mourning. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
Sprigs of wattle blossoms are placed on a wreath during a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers remarks during a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret (obscured) place wattle blossoms on a wreath as they attend a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret (obscured) attends a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
A woman cries during a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell-Pool/Getty Images)
A mourner wipes a tear from her eye as she leaves after attending a national memorial service as Australians mourn the loss of all victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 7, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Those responsible for shooting down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine will face judgment, Australia's prime minister said.

Tony Abbott spoke as his nation marked a day of mourning for the 38 Australian citizens and residents who died in the crash.

The commemorations were focused on St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, capital of Victoria state where 16 of the victims lived.

Mr Abbott told the multi-faith service that hundreds of Australian police and military personnel had been working around the clock to retrieve human remains and belongings from the war zone where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed on July 17 with 298 people aboard.

"There will be a time to judge the guilty, but today we honour the dead and we grieve with the living," he said.

Flags flew at half-mast and church bells chimed around Australia in honour of the dead.

The West has accused Russia of most likely providing Ukrainian insurgents with surface-to-air missiles that may have been used to shoot down the Boeing 777 over rebel-held territory.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of The Netherlands, whose nationals made up more than half of the victims, said yesterday that the search involving Dutch and Australian police for victims' remains is being halted because fighting in the area of the crash site makes it too dangerous to continue.

PA Media

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