Residents of the Ukrainian village where a Malaysian airliner was shot down with 298 people aboard a year ago joined a procession to the crash site on Friday, while
The two ceremonies come amid a sharp dispute over who was responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was heading from
Ukrainian and Western authorities say the plane was downed by a missile fired either by rebels or Russian troops who allegedly back them.
The rebels and
In Hrabove, about 200 residents carrying flowers gathered in a church for a memorial service and procession to nearby fields organized by local leaders and the Russia-backed separatist rebels who control the area.
The procession mainly consisted of women and children, who carried icons and chanted Orthodox liturgical music. The perimeter of the procession was guarded by men in Soviet military uniforms. About 100 people carried the flags of the countries of the victims as well as the separatist flags stood by a small stone at the crash site which bore a plaque saying: "To the memory of 298 dead, innocent victims of the civil war."
Some of the mourners held banners, accusing the
"The advanced weapon with which (the) aircraft was shot down could have come to the hands of terrorists only from
"He knew that the place where MH17 came to rest was sacred and that a piece of it should come back to
Abbott and his wife laid a wreath at the base of the plaque. Dozens of family members of the victims followed, many in tears as they added their flowers alongside the wreath. Some kissed the bouquets before they placed them, others kissed their fingers and pressed them against the plaque.
Flags on government buildings around the country hardest hit in the disaster — 196 of the victims were Dutch nationals — were flying at half-staff throughout the day.