'The Ramifications Are Enormous': Five Years Since Tragic MH17 Crash
Not a week goes by when police officer Kylie Hemiak doesn't work on the investigation into the shooting down of flight MH17.
Five years ago, the Malaysia Airlines plane was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border in territory held by pro-Russian separatists.
All 298 people on board, including 38 Australians, were killed.
Hemiak has worked with the families of six of those victims ever since the downing on July 17, 2014, as an AFP family investigative liaison officer (FILO).
"The ramifications are enormous and they have an ongoing impact in all of those families' lives, and also the impact on all of the AFP members that worked on the MH17 investigation," she told AAP on the eve of the anniversary.
"There's probably not a week in the last five years that I haven't read or actioned something in relation to do with the MH17 investigation.
"It's really important for us to continue to communicate with the families, which we do. We have that ongoing relationship with them anyway and we will for a number of years to come."
Hemiak says the fifth anniversary is a reminder for the hundreds of police involved and of everything they've been through.
The first part of her role involved collecting evidence to help investigators identify the victims at the crash site.
"Collecting fingerprints, DNA and also ... collecting really specific information from next of kin about their loved ones, so things like physical descriptors and what clothing they may have been wearing."
She kept up a stream of information to the families about the investigation's progress.
"FILO work is always challenging, sometimes very difficult, but it's incredibly rewarding ... Even though it's terribly confronting and you're dealing with families on the worst days of their lives," she says.
"I think the greatest satisfaction is giving families that small little bit of assistance or information that makes a difference to their day - because it's very much a day-at-a-time thing in those early days of a disaster."
At the time, Hemiak was based at Melbourne Airport so she also took on a coordinator role as the Australians' remains were repatriated to that location.
And in the years since she has been the link between the families and ongoing investigation efforts, coronial processes and now court cases.
In June, the Dutch-led international investigation team charged four suspects for the disaster - Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko.
International arrest warrants for the four have been issued.
"The Dutch have made a decision that it's important for all families to be included in court processes and to relay the victim impact like we would here in an Australian court," Hemiak said.
Australia is supporting the Dutch prosecution and has set aside more than $50 million for it, including making sure Australian families can access the proceedings and have translation services available.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called the plane's downing a "despicable act" and says the government will not stop pursuing justice for all the victims.