Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Countries around the world, from Netherlands to Australia, planned memorial services to honor the victims of the crash.
In Hrabove, the Ukrainian village where the plane came down, residents gathered for a procession to the crash site on Friday, reportedly carrying flowers gathered at a church for a commemoration organized by local leaders and the Russia-backed separatist rebels who control the area. The memorial ceremony would also include the dedication of a stone plaque.
In Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reportedly unveiled a permanent memorial in the capital city of Canberra for the Australian victims of the plane crash. A plaque with the names of the 38 Australians on board the plane was reportedly set in soil from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. And several family members of the victims honored their loved ones by laying flowers at the memorial.
Abbott, referring to an official who brought back the soil, reportedly said: "He knew that the place where MH17 came to rest was sacred and that a piece of it should come back to Australia," according to the Associated Press, adding: "It was a humane and decent thing for him to know and do. It was a contrast to the savagery that brought down the plane."
The plane -- bound from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur -- was shot down in rebel-held territory on July 17, 2014. Ukraine and Western nations have claimed there is evidence the plane was hit by a Russian-made missile fired by pro-Moscow separatists. Russia has claimed that the plane may have been hit by a Ukrainian warplane or a missile fired by Ukrainian troops.
In Malaysia, a memorial service was held in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on July 11, as the anniversary of the crash comes at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Netherlands, home to most of the victims of the disaster, has planned a memorial service for Friday.
Earlier this week, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine put forward a joint proposal to the United Nations Security Council to set up an independent tribunal to "try those responsible for crimes" connected to the tragedy. The move was criticized by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, who said the Kremlin does not support “the premature and counter-productive initiatives of several countries, including The Netherlands, on the establishment of an international tribunal.”