Australian PM vows to confront Putin over MH17

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made outspoken remarks about his intentions as it was revealed Russian President Vladimir Putin would be taking part in the G20 summit next month, which will be hosted by Australia in Brisbane.

Treasurer Joe Hockey confirmed on Sunday that the Russian leader would attend, despite concerns about Russia’s actions in Ukraine in recent months.

Abbott has used tough language against Russia since a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July, killing all 298 onboard, including 38 Australian citizens or residents.

He said on Monday he would be confronting Putin over the tragedy.

“I’m going to shirtfront Mr Putin – you bet I am,” Abbott told reporters, referring to an Australian sporting term in which a player charges someone.

“I’m going to be saying to Mr Putin – Australians were murdered and they were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment. We are very unhappy about this.” 

“We accept that you didn’t want this to happen,” he added.

“But we now demand that you fully cooperate with the criminal investigation, and if the criminal investigation identifies suspects that you have some influence over, they’ve got to be produced and justice has got to be done.”

Russian denial
Kiev and the West have accused Moscow-backed separatists of shooting down the plane with a surface-to-air BUK missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denies the charge and has pointed the finger back at Kiev.

Australia had initially been reluctant for Putin to attend the G20, but member nations indicated that he should in order to address the geo-political tensions.

“While Australia is the president of the G20 this year, we can’t make unilateral decisions. It has to be by consensus and the G20 consensus is that Russia should come,” said Abbott. 

“Now, I think that there’ll be a lot of tough conversations with Russia and I suspect that the conversation that I have with Mr Putin will be the toughest conversation of all.”

“But nevertheless, it’s not up to us to determine who is and who is not a member of the G20. I want the G20 to continue. I want Australia to be a constructive and strong member of the G20. I don’t want to be a G20 wrecker.”

The G20 leaders’ summit takes place from November 15-16. – AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

READ IT IN FULL: Ramaphosa’s address on the extension of...

This is the full address given by President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 9

Meet the doctor leading Africa’s fight to contain the coronavirus...

Dr Matshidiso Moeti’s father helped to eliminate smallpox. Now she’s leading Africa’s efforts against the coronavirus

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world