Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
Local residents assist an investigator of the Donetsk People's Republic at a shed which the local community says contains parts of the wreckage of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, in the settlement of Rozsypne (Rassypnoye) in Donetsk region, Ukraine, September 16, 2015.Reuters

Families of those who died after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine are suing the Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), according to a report by the Telegraph.

The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a Russian-made missile as it flew over the civil war zone in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 on board. According to the BBC, the plane crashed at the height of conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government troops.

News.com.au reported that the families' claim was based on the violation of a passenger's right to life.

The BBC reported that the claim is for 10 million Australian dollars for each person and the lawsuit names the Russian state as well as President Putin as respondents.

US-based aviation lawyer Jerry Skinner, who is leading the case, was quoted by News.com.au as saying: "It's very hard from the families to live with; this is a crime... The Russians don't have any facts for blaming Ukraine. We have facts, photographs, memorandums, tonnes of stuff." He also said that they were waiting to hear from the ECHR whether their case has been accepted.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the application consists of the names of 33 next-of-kin - eight from Australia, one from New Zealand and the rest from Malaysia.

The Telegraph reported that Russia has consistently denied involvement in the matter, while a Dutch report last year said that the plane was shot by a Russian-made Buk missile, but did not attribute blame for the crash. The Dutch authorities are still investigating into the disaster.

The Malaysian and Dutch diplomats have drafted a UN resolution to bring to justice those responsible for bringing down the plane. The Russians have reportedly called the resolution "immature" and could veto the move.

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