Russian President Vladimir Putin will be attending the G20 summit in Brisbane next month and Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters on Monday that, “I am going to shirtfront Mr Putin – you bet I am – I am going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered, they were murdered by Russian backed rebels.” Mr Abbott’s comment is in regard to the shooting down of MH17, and is indicative of the growing tension between Australia and Russia.
Mr Abbott said he accepted Russia had not wanted the tragedy to occur, but that “we are very unhappy about this” and that “we now demand that you [Russia] fully co-operate with the criminal investigation”.
“There’ll be a lot of tough conversations with Russia and I suspect the conversation I have with Mr Putin will be the toughest conversation of all,” said Mr Abbott.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was of the view that Mr Putin shouldn’t make the trip to Brisbane at all and that his attendance was “rubbing our faces” in the aftermath of MH17.
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In a rare showing of unity between the two major parties, both Mr Abbott and Mr Shorten have continued to speak out against the actions of Russia, surrounding its alleged involvement in the MH17 disaster, and the actions of the country post-disaster.
The scene is set for the G20 next month in Brisbane, and while I can’t picture Tony Abbott “shirtfronting” Mr Putin (an Australian rules football term for shoulder charging), I have no doubt that he will be loose-lipped in his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s refreshing to see our politicians finally speaking out on the world stage, and condemning such actions, when in the past, we would have kept quiet to keep the peace.
Do you think Tony Abbott’s stance towards Russia and Mr Putin on this issue is in the best interest of the country?