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MH17 Dutch memorial day: Victims honoured in Amsterdam

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Media captionFriends and relatives of the victims read out the names and ages of those who died

Hundreds of bereaved family members and friends of passengers who died in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 disaster have gathered in the Dutch capital Amsterdam to commemorate the dead.

Nearly 200 of the plane's 298 victims came from the Netherlands.

Ukraine and Western countries accuse pro-Russian rebels of shooting the plane down with a Russian-made missile, an accusation which Russia denies.

The exact cause of the crash in eastern Ukraine has not been established.

President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that allegations that the rebels were hampering efforts to find out what happened to the plane were "totally unfounded".

He said that Russia supported a full and impartial investigation into the crash.

Image caption Relatives of the victims read out their names in an emotional tribute
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were at the forefront of the commemorations
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Flags across much of the Netherlands flew at half mast on Monday

Friends and relatives of the victims read out the names and ages of those who died in a ceremony attended by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and other dignitaries.

There were poignant moments when the names of entire families were read out, often in Dutch but also in English, reflecting the 10 nationalities of the victims.

Footage from the scene showed schoolchildren placing flowers next to 298 candles, one for every victim.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte spoke of his feelings of helplessness and despair in the aftermath of the disaster.

"[The passengers'] lives will forever be unfinished," he said. "Their voices will never again be heard. Their presence, their talents, their friendship and their love - it has all been taken from you. Just like that."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The downing of the airliner led to an outpouring of public grief in the Netherlands
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Dutch PM Mark Rutte said many questions remained unanswered over what happened to MH17

298 victims from 10 countries

  • Netherlands: 196
  • Malaysia: 42
  • Australia: 27
  • Indonesia: 11
  • UK: 10
  • Belgium: 4
  • Germany: 3
  • Philippines: 3
  • Canada: 1
  • New Zealand: 1

MH17 Dutch memorial day: Air disaster that touched a nation


Mr Rutte said that the commemoration would provide "a chance for the Netherlands to show the next-of-kin that they are not standing alone".

However, the BBC's Anna Holligan in the Netherlands says that Mr Rutte still cannot answer the most pressing questions asked by bereaved families - who was responsible for shooting down the plane and when will all of the remains of the victims be repatriated?

Such was the impact of the MH17 crash in the Netherlands that 17 July 2014 is often referred to as the country's 9/11.

Image caption Parts of the plane were found 8km (5 miles) from the main debris site

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