Malaysia Airlines settles families' MH17 damages claims

Malaysia Airlines had settled claims for most victims of flight MH17, Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported, after families gathered yesterday to mark two years since the flight was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

The broadcaster cited Veeru Mewa, a lawyer representing some of the 165 Dutch victims. The report said parties involved in the settlement had agreed to secrecy.

''Talks are still ongoing for the rest of the victims' relatives,'' The Guardian reported quoting Mewa, who is based in Amsterdam.

Under the Montreal Convention, airlines would need to pay €130,000 ($145,000) to victims' families, regardless of the circumstances of a crash. Under the convention, yesterday marked the deadline for legal action under the convention.

The aircraft, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in its final report in late 2015.

Villagers in eastern Ukraine, yesterday held a vigil at the site of the plane crash, as bereaved relatives marked the anniversary with emotional memorial services.

Around 60 people gathered at the site in the village of Petropavlivka, carrying flowers and lighting candles at the square where some of the victims' remains and belongings had fallen to the ground.

Meanwhile, Dutch prosecutors said they were still waiting for Russia to provide information on the downing of Flight MH17.

According to the west and Ukraine, Russian-backed rebels were responsible but Russia accused Ukrainian forces.

The plane crashed in July 2014, at the height of the conflict between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian separatists.

A number of victims' families are suing Russia and its president Vladimir Putin in the European Court of Human Rights.

In a separate legal action families of six Malaysia Airlines crew members who were killed filed a lawsuit on Thursday blaming the carrier for the tragedy.

The lawsuit accuses the carrier of negligence and breach of contract.