A small group of Dutch and Ukrainian Canadians gathered on Friday night to mourn the victims that were killed when a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down over the skies in Ukraine.
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The group held a candlelight service at the Dutch Canadian Centre in Edmonton to mourn the tragic event that left 298 people dead.
There were 189 Dutch passengers on the Kuala Lumpur-bound flight that departed from Amsterdam. One Canadian was also killed in the crash.
Hans Buikema, a member of Edmonton's Dutch Canadian Club said the event is “too terrible” to express in words.
“It’s very important to show our feelings with our friends and family back in Holland and I’m sure the people in Ukraine,” he said.
Nataliya Kostyuk — who still has family and friends living in Ukraine — is brought to tears when she speaks about the crash.
“This is the reality for Ukrainians,” she said. “To say goodbye to our best people — it’s happening every day.
“With this plane crash, the tragedy just grows so much bigger because people of different nationalities were on board and almost 100 children who are not part of this conflict and are not supposed to be involved are affected. It’s extremely sad.”
Kostyuk says that Ukraine is in “a state of undeclared war” and she just wants it to end.
“The tragedy… it was unparalleled in scale,” she said. “No one in Ukraine deserves what’s happening right now, but the people on that plane, they don’t have anything to do with the conflict there. They were just innocent victims.”
Buikema said it’s important for people from all countries impacted by the crash to support each other.
“All over the world, we are people. We live together and we should get together in harmony,” he said. “This is a nice opportunity for both sides to show that we care about each other.”