A solemn vigil for victims of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 turned to protest in Ottawa Saturday morning as mourners marched with black flags from the Dutch embassy to the Russian embassy.
Nearly 200 of the 298 passengers on the Kuala Lumpur-bound flight that departed from Amsterdam were from the Netherlands. Everyone on Thursday's flight is presumed dead.
American intelligence suggests the plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile launched from eastern Ukraine — an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
The Ukrainian government and pro-Russia separatists have both denied being responsible for shooting down the plane.
In Ottawa, protesters pinned the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin for his continued support of separatists in Ukraine. About 30 people gathered outside the Dutch embassy on Albert Street Saturday morning, and later marched to Russian embassy on Charlotte Street where a protest was already underway.
"This is a global issue that deserves the world's attention and help," said Inna Platonova, a Ukrainian-Canadian who helped organize the protest at the Russian embassy. "Anybody could have been on that plane — us, our children. We are grieving together with the families that lost their loved ones. We are crying together with them. We are heartbroken."
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Meanwhile, investigators tasked with analyzing the wreckage have the additional challenge of doing so in a war zone. The crash site is about 40 kilometres from the Russian border.