Hundreds protest MH17 ‘genocide’ outside Russia, Ukraine embassies

Barisan Nasional Youth members stage a protest at the Russian and Ukrainian embassies demanding answers for what they called the ‘genocide’ of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 passengers and crew, Kuala Lumpur, July 22, 2014. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Barisan Nasional Youth members stage a protest at the Russian and Ukrainian embassies demanding answers for what they called the ‘genocide’ of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 passengers and crew, Kuala Lumpur, July 22, 2014. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 ― About 300 Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth members protested at the Russian and Ukrainian embassies here today, demanding the two governments answer for what they called the “genocide” of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 passengers and crew.

Today’s protests came a day after Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak revealed that backroom negotiations with pro-Moscow rebels allowed Putrajaya to secure the return of the passengers’ remains recovered from the crash site as well as the plane’s black boxes.

But the protestors, all clad in black T-shirts emblazoned with “#justiceforMH17” written across their chests, said recovering the black boxes is not enough and that both governments must do more to shed light on what had happened to MH17, believed to have been shot down in separatist-controlled Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

“It was genocide at 33,000 feet. We want to know the truth, we demand justice,” said Ibdillah Ishak, executive councillor and national secretary of Umno Youth.

The crowd first gathered in front of the Russian embassy at Jalan Ampang here before heading towards the Ukrainian embassy in the city centre.

A memorandum was handed over to an official of the Russian embassy, who accepted it despite his initial hesitance to entertain demands for a meeting with a representative from the protestors.

“It was the first secretary... he was reluctant at first but then he decided to receive the memorandum. I am happy. If not..,” Umno Youth deputy chief Khairun Azwan Harun told The Malay Mail Online at the side of the demonstration.

The memorandum contained BN Youth’s demand for both Moscow and Kiev to provide safe passage for international teams to inspect the crash site and provide absolute truths in the probe of the incident.

“We demand nothing less than a thorough and transparent investigation,” it read.

Najib announced last night that the Ukrainian separatist force has agreed to release the remains of 282 victims recovered from the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, as well as the two black boxes recovered from the flight wreckage.

Najib yesterday also said the separatists have vowed to provide safe access to the crash site.

Today, however, the US and Australia accused pro-Russia rebels of conducting large scale cover up at the site by tampering with evidences on scene.

Moscow remains adamant that Ukraine was responsible for the downing of MH17 with Russian President Vladimir Putin arguing that the incident would not have happened if Kiev did not launch a military offensive three months ago.

Putin, however, had given his assurance that Russia will do everything in its power to help international experts conduct a transparent probe on the incident.

BN Youth leaders said today’s protest would send a signal to Putin as well as the Ukrainian government that Malaysians will do whatever it takes to get justice for the 298.

“If not for us gathering here today, how are the families of the victims to get justice? We will keep pushing until we get our demands,” Ibdil said.

The Boeing 777-200ER, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 passengers and crew, was shot down over Ukraine on 17 July. There were no survivors.