The father of three children killed in Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has opened up about the anger he feels towards US President Donald Trump.
Four years ago, Anthony Maslin and Marite ‘Rin’ Norris lost their three children and the children’s grandfather Nick Norris when the flight carrying 298 passengers and crew members was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The couple’s three children, Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis, eight, were flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on their way home to Perth when the plane was hit by a missile shot by Russian-backed separatist fighters.
In a Facebook post shared on the anniversary of his children’s death, Maslin wrote about the anger he feels towards Donald Trump in light of his close relationship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Putin and Trump met in Helsinki on Monday in a meeting that was heavily criticised for Trump’s refusal to discuss the 2014 MH17 incident and for expressing his doubts about Russia’s role in the 2016 US election.
“It’s not anger that I feel towards the two of you, it is something much, much worse. It’s pity,” Maslin wrote.
“You have no empathy for your fellow man, and you clearly have no idea what love is.”
Maslin also targeted Trump’s blatant refusal to hold Russia accountable for the tragic death of 298 people, accusing him of ignoring the “irrefutable facts”.
“Mr Trump, you invented and speak a lot about “fake news”. But lets try talking about something that’s not fake… lets call them irrefutable facts,” he wrote in his post.
“That passenger flight MH17 was shot out of the sky and 298 innocent people were murdered is an irrefutable fact.
“That the plane was hit by a Russian missile has been proven to be an irrefutable fact.
“That this killed our 3 beautiful children and their grandfather, and destroyed our life and many other lives in the process, is an irrefutable fact.
“That the man whose arse you’ve just been kissing did this, and continues to lie about it, is an irrefutable fact.”
Maslin’s wife, Rin Norris shared a piece of poetry on Facebook to mark the anniversary of the loss of her children.
In the post, Norris referred to Trump and Putin as "bullies", writing "Sometimes experiences from the past pop into my head and I can't move, rendered immobile by loss and horror, staring at nothing and inside, trauma is being re-lived".
Speaking of her children, she wrote: "They help me when I feel I can't go on. When I close my eyes, I can see their smiles".
Responding to Maslin's condemnation of Trump, Liberal MP Craig Kelly sparked backlash yesterday when he claimed Russia's involvement should be "slightly overlooked" to maintain good relations.
Craig Kelly, your insensitive and insulting comments can not go unchallenged. You’ve paid no price. Go home tonight, kiss your son & daughter, and pause. Imagine for a moment if you could never do that again & then tell us if losing them for a political gain is worth it #auspol
— Tash W (@MVMeridian) July 18, 2018
I cannot believe he said this. Australians were killed. Children were killed. There are no excuses, ever. Craig Kelly should apologise to the families of the victims. https://t.co/N4GDD88xh1
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) July 18, 2018
In the Illawarra we felt the grief of the family and friends of Carol and Michael Clancy who were killed on MH17. Craig Kelly’s latest outburst is a very callous dismissal of their loss.https://t.co/tFB7KVeK0A https://t.co/DHqLuzOMJ7
— Stephen Jones MP (@StephenJonesMP) July 18, 2018
Kelly has since apologised for any distress his comments may have caused to the families of those who died.
But despite apologising and expressing his sympathy, he also insisted that Trump shouldn't publicly call out Putin and Russia for their role saying "the reality of the world is that we need the US and Russia, the presidents of both countries, to have a good relationship".
Despite Kelly's arguments, Australia continues to fully hold Russia responsible for the attack which resulted in the deaths of 38 Australians.
In May 2018, Australia officially acknowledged Russia as being responsible for the downing.
But until President Trump acknowledges Russia as the perpetrators of this heinous crime, his blatant refusal to do so will remain as a slap in the face to the friends and families who lost people on that day, four years ago.