"Same Story Again": Families of MH17 Victims React to PS752 Downing
12 January, 2020

It is difficult not to draw parallels between the January 8 shootdown of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight that saw 176 die and the 2014 MH17 plane downing over the occupied Donbas.

On January 11, Iran admitted that the Ukrainian Boeing-737 plane was unintentionally downed by its missile at the time of high tension between Iran and the U.S. Since July 17 2014 – when the MH17 flight was downed – multiple pieces of evidence were published by the Joint Investigation Team and investigative outlets such as Bellingcat of Russia's involvement in the disaster. Yet Russia has been consistently denying any wrongdoing on its part. 

READ MORE: Bellingcat's Toler on Alarming Phone Intercepts Released by JIT MH17 Investigation

Relatives of the victims of the MH17 disaster have shared with Hromadske how they felt when they heard the news about the PS752 downing.

"My heart stood still again"

Nanda Tournier lost her father Henk and his wife Ineke in the MH17 crash. Both were flying from the Netherlands to New Zealand to visit Nanda and her family who had just emigrated to New Zealand.

Nanda's father Henk and his wife Ineke with Nanda's children. Photo: courtesy

"As I read online [that] the Ukrainian airlines flight crashed in Tehran.... my heart stood still again. Just like that awful day when MH17 was shot down..." she told Hromadske.

"I hope for the families that the investigation will be fast and honest, that countries will help where they can...

Dear families who are affected by this horrible crime, my heart goes out to you, I know your pain.... never give up! Find comfort in your loved ones and find support in other people who are in your situation... Share your grief."

READ MORE: What We Know About the Victims of the Deadly Tehran-Kyiv Flight​

"It's exactly the same. Stupid war where civilians have to suffer."

Robby Oehlers' niece Daisy was also on the MH17 flight. She, together with her boyfriend Bryce, were on their way to a holiday in Indonesia.

"It rips the heart in two to see how they have to deal with the loss of precious lives," Oehlers commented on the Iran downing to Hromadske. "It should not go unpunished as we keep fighting for Daisy and Bryce and so will the families of the PS752 flight. I stand with Ukraine, always. Its exactly the same... Stupid war broke out because of a bog ego Trump and Iran.. And civilians had to suffer."

When asked whether he thinks Russia will admit to their part in the MH17 disaster like Iran did, Oehlers said:

"Russia? Not while Putin is alive. Maybe in 100+ years"

"We are still waiting for Russia to claim responsibility for MH17"

Silene Fredriksz is the mother of Bryce, Daisy's boyfriend. Fredriksz cannot help but feel similarities between the PS572 downing and that of MH17 where her son died.

READ MORE: Mother of MH17 Victim Shares Grief

"Deja Vu. The question was not if but when this would happen again. Again no closure of the airspace, again flying over conflict zone. And again no responsibility taken. Again so many families in despair. Our heart is with them," she wrote on her Facebook.

When Iran claimed responsibility over the downing, Fredriksz wrote that this left her teary-eyed and wondering whether Russia would ever take the same step.

"We are waiting to hear these words for 5.5 years now from Russia," she wrote.

/By Olena Kurenkova and Maria Romanenko

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