A German lawyer says he plans to sue Ukraine for negligence in the downing of Malaysia Airline Flight 17.

Elmar M. Giemulla says he will file a suit at the European Court of Human Rights in the coming weeks on behalf of three German families who lost relatives when the plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17.

Giemulla, a specialist in aviation law, argues that Ukraine should have closed its airspace if it couldn't guarantee the security of planes flying through it.

He said Sunday that other victims' families can join the suit and a separate claim may later be filed against Russia.

German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported Giemulla expects compensation of €1 million ($1.29 million) for each victim of the downing that killed 298 people.