Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday that he would use an upcoming G20 leaders’ summit to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 above Ukraine. "Look, I’m going to shirtfront Mr Putin — you bet I am," Abbott told reporters, using an Australian Rules Football term meaning to hit someone front-on and knock them to the ground.
Allegations that the Boeing 777 was downed by pro-Russian separatists armed with surface-to-air missiles provided by the Kremlin sparked calls in Australia to bar Putin from the meeting of world leaders in Brisbane next month. "I’m going to be saying to Mr. Putin, 'Australians were murdered and they were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian supplied equipment,'" Abbott said. Twenty-eight Australians were among the 298 killed. Abbott has previously stated that tampering on an "industrial scale" was evident at the crash site in July before international investigators were allowed access by the rebels.