I will 'Shirt-Front' Putin Over MH17, Says Australian PM

Published: 14th October 2014 07:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2014 07:53 PM   |  A+A-


Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott| AP/File photo

Tony Abbott, the Australian prime minister, says he will "shirt-front" Vladimir Putin when the two meet next month, deploying an Australian Rules football term that describes aggressively grabbing an opponent or knocking them to the ground.

Referring to the deaths of 38 Australians in the MH17 plane attack, when an airliner was shot down over Ukraine in July, Mr Abbott said: "I'm going to shirt-front Mr Putin - you bet I am. I am going to be saying to Mr Putin, 'Australians were murdered'.?" Mr Abbott was one of the world's most vocal leaders in criticising Moscow over the attack and has faced calls to bar the Russian president from attending the G20 summit in Brisbane next month.

Signalling that he will confront Mr Putin rather than ban him, Mr Abbott said: "There will 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."

Mr Abbott led the effort in the United Nations to force Russia to comply with investigations into the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane. Mr Putin has insisted that Russia was not involved, although pro-Russian separatists have been blamed.

Bill Shorten, the opposition leader, said Mr Putin was an "international bully" and his visit was tantamount to "rubbing our faces" in the tragedy.


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