KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 – Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott is set to meet the Russian president during the APEC summit in Beijing and urge him to pressure pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine to work with airline investigators probing the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The Wall Street Journal reported today that both, Abbott and Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte said they would step up pressure on Vladimir Putin to cooperate with investigators.
“One way or another, I will speak to the Russian president sometime over the next week or so,” said Abbott. Russia has so far denied that it was not cooperating and has blamed Kiev and the West for delaying the investigations. MH17 was shot down on July 17 over conflict-racked eastern Ukraine. Western and Ukrainian officials have blamed pro-Russian separatists for the downing, which killed all 298 people on board, including 153 Dutch and 38 Australian citizens.
Both Moscow and the rebels have since denied that separatists were responsible. Australia later helped draft a UN Security Council resolution passed unanimously demanding unfettered access to the crash site, while Abbott led international criticism of Russian support for the rebels. “What I’ll be saying to him is that Australia expects Russian cooperation with the investigation.
“We owe it to our dead to secure justice and Russia as a member of the international community owes it to the world, to humanity, to ensure that justice is done,” said Abbott. Rutte, whose country is in charge of investigating what caused the crash and identifying bodies, spoke to Putin two weeks ago at an Asia-Europe, or ASEM, summit in Milan and urged him to pressure the separatists.
Rutte said he also expected Putin would also come under pressure from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at a separate meeting. “I can assure you that we will do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice. “I do not have a 100% guarantee, but I do have a 100% guarantee we will do everything we can to bring them to justice,” he said. Forensic experts recently reached the scene of the crash site again, Rutte said, restarting investigations interrupted by fighting between separatists and Ukrainian government forces.
In a separate development, the Dutch Safety Board said it had made plans to recover from Ukraine some of the wreckage of MH17 and reconstruct parts of the aircraft in the Netherlands as part of its crash investigation probe. Abbott said in the months following the crash he had seen no evidence tempering his initial strong condemnation of Ukrainian separatists and assessments that the aircraft was likely shot down using a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft missile.