Russia has released satellite images which appear to show the Malaysia Airlines MH17 aircraft being shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet.
The prevailing theory on the MH17 disaster, in which 38 Australian residents and citizens were among the 298 people killed, has been that it was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists.
On numerous occasions – including from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop – Russian President Vladimir Putin has been urged to take responsibility for the MH17 incident.
But today Russia’s state broadcaster has aired the images allegedly showing a Mig-29 fighter jet firing a missile towards the Boeing 777 MAS plane.
The images were broadcast with a report that accused western governments of a plot to pin the blame for MH17 on Moscow.
Initial investigations by Dutch authorities found puncture marks by “high energy objects … that originated from outside the fuselage” and were believed to have originated from a surface-to-air missile.
Yesterday Putin told the same Russian news agency that the sanctions which had been placed against Russia violated the G20’s principles, but said he would not raise the topic at the summit.
“The fact that certain countries of the G20 are imposing sanctions on Russia through the G20, of course, this contradicts the very principle of the G20’s activity.
“This also contradicts international law because sanctions can only be imposed through the United Nations and its Security Council,” he said. “Why should I draw attention to this, ask for something? It’s pointless.”
Putin arrived in Australia overnight and was greeted by a junior minister from the federal government, whereas other heads of state have been greeted by more senior ministers. A flotilla of four Russian ships that arrived off the Queensland coast in a projection of Russian power has added to the tension as Australia hosts Putin at the G20.
While some western leaders see the display of bravado as an act to disguise his economic weakness – having admitted that Moscow was preparing for a “catastrophic” slump in oil prices following the sanctions – others have said it’s his stance of defiance.
Abbott told a media briefing yesterday that he had told Putin in a one-to-one conversation that Russia shouldn’t be trying to revisit “lost glories” of the Soviet era.
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