- Five years after flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing everyone on board including 38 Australians, authorities are still searching for answers.
- The Australian government used the anniversary to affirm its commitment to the ongoing investigation of four pro-Russian military officers accused of firing the missile.
- While governments from around the world called on Russia to accept responsibility, it continues to deny any involvement, instead accusing Ukrainian forces of the attack.
- The families of victims will gather in Amsterdam on Wednesday to remember those they lost.
On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed flying over Ukraine. All of the 298 people on board were killed, including 38 Australians, and almost 200 Dutch.
Five years on, its victims are being remembered as the governments of Australia and the Netherlands continue to investigate exactly what happened on that day. Both countries believe the Russian state was responsible for shooting the aircraft down — an allegation that Russia has denied.
In a joint statement, foreign affairs minister Marise Payne and home affairs minister Peter Dutton said Australia was committed to finding answers.
"While nothing can bring back those who lost their lives, the Australian government remains resolute in its commitment to pursuing accountability for the downing and to achieve justice for the victims and their loved ones."
Shortly after the crash, Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers travelled to Europe to bring the bodies of victims home and begin collecting evidence as part of an international forensics team. Just last month that team officially accused four pro-Russia military officers of being responsible.
The officers accused were Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko.
"The announcement by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on 19 June of the indictment of four individuals for their alleged roles in the downing is a significant step towards justice and accountability and the Government commends the ongoing meticulous work of the JIT, which involves authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and the Netherlands," Payne and Dutton said.
"Together with the Netherlands, we are engaging in talks with the Russian Federation arising out of our joint assertion on 25 May 2018 of Russia's state responsibility for its role in the downing."
The two ministers said Australia had committed more than $50 million over four years to support the investigation, including ensuring that victims' families could participate in Dutch court proceedings. Governments around the world have come out on the anniversary to urge Russia to be accountable.
"The EU calls on Russia to accept its responsibility and cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation. The EU expresses its full confidence in the independence and professionalism of the legal procedures that lie ahead," the European Union said in a statement.
Likewise, the US State Department said the JIT had its full support.
Russia's state department has denied having any involvement, claiming it has evidence that the missile was fired by Ukranian forces and that the report by the JIT was "factually incorrect on several points".
The families of the victims have gathered in Amsterdam to commemorate the anniversary and remember their loved ones. They are joined by Australian officials, including the Australian ambassador to the Netherlands, Matthew Neuhaus.