The parents of three Australian children killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last week have described how they are living in a "hell beyond hell".
In a statement issued through Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Anthony Maslin and Rin Norris pleaded for privacy as they revealed "our pain is intense and relentless".
"Our babies are not here with us – we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives."
Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis Maslin, 8 were returning home to Perth with their grandfather Nick Norris for the new school term.
Their parents chose to stay on in Amsterdam for a few days – missing the doomed flight. They said they drew comfort from the love and support of friends "because this expression of love is what is keeping us alive".
STATEMENT FROM ANTHONY MASLIN AND RIN NORRIS
A message to the soldiers in the Ukraine, the politicians, the media, our friends and family.
Our pain is intense and relentless. We live in a hell beyond hell.
Our babies are not here with us – we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives.
No one deserves what we are going through.
Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Grandad Nick.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other.
This is a revelation that gives us some comfort.
We would ask everyone to remember this when you are making any decisions that affect us and the other victims of this horror.
So far, every moment since we arrived home, we've been surrounded by family and friends. We desperately pray that this continues, because this expression of love is what is keeping us alive. We want to continue to know about your lives, all the good and all the bad. We no longer have lives that we want to live by ourselves. So we'd like to take the chance to thank everyone, all our incredible friends, family and communities, and to tell you all that we love you very much.
We would also like to thank the people at DFAT; the local coordinator Claire and most sincerely, Diana and Adrian from The Hague, without whom we would not be here. We ask the media to respect the privacy of our family and friends – pain is not a story.
Anthony Maslin & Marite Norris.