THE mother of a victim of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has begun legal proceedings against Ukraine at the European Court of Human Rights, accusing Kiev of failing to close the country’s airspace, a German daily reported yesterday.

The woman, who lodged her complaint at the Strasbourg-based court last week, is suing Ukraine for 800,000 euros (RM3.4 million) in damages for negligent homicide, the Bild newspaper said.

The Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board. Among those who died were 193 Dutch nationals, four Germans and 43 Malaysians.

Kiev and the West had accused separatists of shooting the plane down with a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia — a charge Moscow denied.

The plaintiff in the case claimed that Ukraine should have closed its airspace to civilian flights when fighting raged in the east of the country, Bild reported.

The woman argued that Ukraine chose not to close its airspace because it did not want to lose out on overflight fees.

At the time, some 700 flights were thought to be crossing Ukrainian territory per day, bringing in several millions of euros a month in revenue, the newspaper added.

The woman is being represented by German lawyer Elmar Giemulla, a professor of aviation law.

Giemulla announced in September that he would represent three families of German MH17 victims.

“By keeping its airspace open for transit by aircraft from other countries, the state must ensure the safety of the flights. If this is impossible, it means that it should close its airspace,” he said. AFP