Australia is seeking Russian cooperation for a full international investigation into the Malaysian Airline jet crash which has claimed the lives of 298 people, including at least 28 Australians.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott summoned the Russian Ambassador Vladimir Morozov to a meeting with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Sydney today.
“The initial response from the Russian ambassador was to blame Ukraine for this and I have to say that is deeply, deeply unsatisfactory,” the prime minister said.
“The idea that Russia can somehow say that none of this has anything to do with them because it happened in Ukraine airspace frankly does not stand up.
“When you have a situation where Russian-backed rebels appear to have killed Australians using, it may well turn out to be Russian-supplied heavy weaponry, Australia takes a very dim view indeed and we want the fullest possible investigation.”
Bishop said the government is seeking assurance that Russia will cooperate with UN security council resolutions – Australia is currently a member – for an international investigation into the tragedy.
“I asked that Russia give its unqualified support for a full, thorough, credible, international, independent investigation into the downing of this flight,” she said.
“I asked him for Russia’s explanation as to how a commercial plane could come down from that altitude over eastern Ukraine.”
Bishop also sought a ceasefire in the crash zone which is currently controlled by Russian-backed rebels.
She said Morozov “provided that unqualified support” but he denied any Russian involvement in the disaster.
“I also asked him about whether Russian equipment – surface-to-air missiles or the like – could have been involved and he said not to his knowledge,” Bishop said.
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