• Reuters

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An Australian law firm has filed a compensation claim against Russia and President Vladimir Putin at the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of families of victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down in 2014, media reported.

The jetliner went down in Ukraine in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board, including 28 Australians.

The aircraft, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in its final report late last year.

Fighting was raging in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces when the aircraft was downed. Many Western experts and governments blamed the rebels.

Australia’s Fairfax media reported Saturday that 33 next of kin of victims were named in an application by Sydney law firm LHD Lawyers, representing people from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

Reuters could not immediately reach LHD Lawyers for comment.

The application was filed May 9 and names the Russian Federation and Putin as respondents, the report said. It was seeking $10 million in compensation per passenger.

The Dutch Safety Board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not point the finger at any group or party for launching the missile.

“So far we don’t have (such information)” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency when asked to comment on reports of the compensation claim.

Malaysia, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine have been exploring alternative options, including trials in international and national courts, after Russia vetoed a United Nations bid in July 2015 to form a tribunal.

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