Asia

Tony Abbott to 'confront' Vladimir Putin on MH17 shooting

Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott speaks at the 69th United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2014 in New York City Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Using an Australian football term, Mr Abbott said he would "shirtfront" Mr Putin

Australian PM Tony Abbott has said he plans to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger plane in July.

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers, including 38 Australians, died.

Mr Abbott said they were "murdered with Russian support". Pro-Russian rebels denied being behind the attack.

He is set to meet Mr Putin at the G20 meeting in Brisbane in November.

The prime minister told reporters on Monday: "Look, I'm going to shirtfront Mr Putin ... you bet I am."

Shirtfronting is an Australian football term which means aggressively charging and knocking down one's opponent.

"I am going to be saying to Mr Putin [that] Australians were murdered. They were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment," he said in remarks quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Putin has denied Russia had any involvement in the incident. Mr Abbott has faced criticism at home for allowing Mr Putin to attend the summit.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Putin has denied Russia had any involvement in the shooting down of MH17
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Boeing 777 disintegrated in mid-air after it was hit

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Mr Putin's presence amounted to "rubbing our faces" in the aftermath of MH17, reported Fairfax Media.

But on Sunday Mr Abbott said it was not in Australia's power to ban Mr Putin as it would go against the consensus of G20 members.

Fairfax reported Mr Abbott as saying he would be seeking assurance from Mr Putin that "justice is done".

Mr Abbott's latest comments come as the English version of Russian newspaper Pravda published an opinion piece attacking him for recent strongly-worded remarks about Russia.

The piece said Mr Abbott was "insolent" and Australia had a "colonial chip on its shoulder".

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