About 60 members of Victoria’s Ukrainian community have gathered in Melbourne to mourn those lost on Flight MH17.
Twenty-eight Australian flags stood in Melbourne’s city square, one for each of the souls lost on flight MH17.
With them were Ukrainian flags with black ribbons around the masts in a sign of solidarity.
About 60 members of Victoria’s Ukrainian community gathered on Saturday to pray and sing Bozhe Velykyj Yedynyj, a song that mourned the deaths and the continued unrest in the land where they happened.
Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations chairman Stefan Romaniw said the loss of Australians in the crash that killed 298 hit close to Ukrainians who call Australia home.
“We’re talking about teachers, we’re talking about nuns, we’re talking about every day people,” Mr Romaniw said.
“A grandfather taking three children, his grandchildren, back to Australia – somebody has to take responsibility.”
The US government believes the jet carrying 298 passengers, including 28 Australians, was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile launched from rebel-held territory.
Russia has denied involvement, instead pointing to the possible participation of the Ukraine military, which Kiev has denied.
Amid the sadness at the Ukrainian service in Melbourne, a sense of anger remained.
Community members held signs that read: “Russia, was Ukrainian blood not enough?” and “Terrorussia”.
Mr Romaniw said Putin had “blood on his hands”.
He backed Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s call for Australia to turn Russian President Vladimir Putin away from the G20 conference.
“Mr Putin and his federation will sooner or later understand that either he’s part of the international community or not, and if he’s not, he’s not welcome in Australia for G20,” Mr Romaniw said.
“We really don’t want to see Mr Putin here.”
Liana Slipetsky of the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria said the crash should never have happened.
“These are not separatists, these are Russian-backed terrorists,” Ms Slipetsky told AAP.
“Had Russia not invaded Ukraine, this would not have happened.”
Luba Pryslak, who has family in western Ukraine, travelled from Geelong to attend the memorial.
Throughout the service she wiped away tears and said the prevailing feeling among community members was sadness.
“It’s a bit early to analyse too much. I suppose the feeling is the world now understands what’s happening in Ukraine,” Ms Pryslak said.
“But obviously there’s just a lot of sadness.”