Mixed emotions after MH17 murder verdict

While a Dutch court's murder verdict brings some solace to the Australian families of MH17 victims, those responsible for downing the Malaysian Airlines flight are unlikely to ever face justice.

Three men - two Russians and a Ukrainian separatist - were sentenced to life in prison on Thursday over the 2014 attack, which killed all 298 people on board the flight over Ukraine.

The trio was convicted in absentia while a third Russian defendant was acquitted.

Hundreds of family members of the plane's passengers and crew, including family and friends of the 38 Australians who died, travelled to the court to hear the verdict.

Meryn O'Brien, whose son Jack was killed when the flight was downed, said the verdict did not change anything.

"It's a measure of justice but it would be complete justice if our family members were restored to us," she told ABC TV.

Matthew Horder, whose parents died in the attack, noted the importance of the court determining what happened.

"To have a court at a high level confirm that ... those people were deliberately murdered is very important for the families who are surviving their loved ones," he said.

The Dutch court's ruling came more than eight years after the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was blown out of the sky by a missile during a conflict between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomed the court's ruling, branding the shooting "an atrocious act of terrorism".

"Our thoughts today are with the family and friends who lost loved ones in that atrocity," he said.

The prime minister also lauded the co-operation between Australian and Dutch authorities in pursuing the matter.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong called on Russia to surrender the convicted men so they could be sentenced for their "heinous crime".

"We would say to Russia, the world knows that you're harbouring murderers and that says something about you (president) Putin," she said.

Senator Wong said the trial "delivered justice and delivered truth" for the families of those on board and confirmed Russia's responsibility for the attack.

Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles acknowledged it was a day of mixed emotions for the families, noting there was slim chance Russia would accept the ruling and hand over the convicted men.

"There's a sense that there is unfinished business here," he said.

Opposition foreign spokesman Simon Birmingham said the successful prosecution of the murderers sent a powerful global message.

"Efforts to ensure those responsible face genuine punishment and justice must continue, as must the efforts to have Russia cease its senseless campaigns of violence," he said.

Former foreign minister Julie Bishop, who was in office at the time of the attack, said the verdict wasn't the end of the matter.

"But at least it does provide an explanation to the families of how this atrocity occurred," she told ABC TV.

Ms Bishop said further pain could have been avoided if the Russian president had taken responsibility following the attack.

"These men who have been convicted were serving members of the Russian military," she said.

"They didn't do it off their own bat but they were ordered to do it."

Australian Federal Police representatives in The Netherlands are providing support to families following the verdict.

Russia has branded the proceedings as politically motivated.