MELBOURNE, Australia (AA) – An Australian law firm has named Russia and President Vladimir Putin as respondents in a compensation claim on behalf of families who lost relatives when Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in mid-2014, according to Australian media.
Fairfax Media reported Saturday that the Sydney legal firm LHD Lawyers submitted the application May 9 to the European Court of Human Rights, seeking $10 million per passenger in compensation.
The claim accuses the Russian Federation of attempting to conceal its involvement in the July 17, 2014 incident that killed all 298 people on board when the plane was reportedly hit by a surface-to-air missile.
Jerry Skinner, a co-associate of the firm, told the Sydney Morning Herald that his clients “want accountability for the deed”.
“They want enough money to reflect that the Russians take this seriously and serve as a deterrent,” he said. “I have encouraged the Russians to contact me to discuss how much money that is ... but I have heard nothing from Russia, from their embassy or from the contact points that we established to indicate that they are willing to talk about negotiating.”
The claim was filed on behalf of 33 next of kin -- 24 from Malaysia, eight from Australia and one from New Zealand.
At the time of the incident, fierce fighting was taking place in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government troops. Russia has denied its troops were operating in Ukraine at the time.
Last year, the Dutch Safety Board concluded MH17 was hit by Russian-made Buk while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The Russian government has challenged the findings, with the makers of Buk missile systems, Almaz-Antey, saying that experiments proved that one of its missiles could not have been launched from areas under pro-Russia separatist control.