Family of MH17 victims pray for Ukraine peace

The family of an Albany couple who died in the MH17 tragedy say they are not interested in retribution against those behind the attack and are praying for reconciliation after authorities identified the remains of their loved ones.

Arjen and Yvonne Ryder were returning from a European holiday when their Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over a separatist-held area of Ukraine near the Russian border on July 17.

There were 298 passengers and crew on board, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.

The Ryder and Van der Mooren families said yesterday it was important to have closure to such a painful event and their thoughts were with other families who had lost loved ones, particularly those still waiting for positive identification of remains.

In a statement released through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the families thanked the Australian Federal Police and forensic personnel in Europe for their prompt and professional handling of the identification process.

The couple were devout members of the local Free Reform Church, where 54-year-old Mr Ryder was a deacon, and their families said they continued to pray for reconciliation in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

"We reiterate our message of grace and forgiveness in these trying times," they said. "We are not seeking retribution against those responsible for this tragedy.

"Our prayer is for peace in Ukraine through contrite hearts and minds, not rhetoric which incites more violence."

Relatives also thanked others who had supported them in the aftermath of the tragedy, including the Australian Government, in particular Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade liaison officer.

"We also would like to thank Malaysia Airlines for their support and professionalism through this crisis," they said.

The Ryders leave behind grandchildren and children Robyn, 30, Drew, 26, and Tiffany, 24, who remembered them as amazing and inspirational people.

Mr Ryder was a senior researcher at the WA Department of Agriculture and his 53-year-old wife was a teacher's aide at John Calvin Primary School.


The West Australian

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