The Dutch report released late on Wednesday night found that the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in which 298 passengers and crew were killed was as a result of a Russian Buk missile trucked into rebel-held territory in the Ukraine.
However, while Federal foreign minister Julie Bishop and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have issued carefully worded statements in response to the findings, former PM Tony Abbott has called for the Government to get tough and impose stronger sanctions against Russia.
Abbott helped lead the international response following the incident in July 2014 and you would remember that he famously threatened to ‘shirtfront’ Russian president Vladimir Putin.
He has openly told the media that Russia has to be held to account.
A very thorough Dutch-led report on the MH17 atrocity, confirming that a Russian missile downed the plane. Putin should face the truth.
— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) September 28, 2016
“Plainly missile batteries don’t go from Russia into Ukraine and back again unless they are Russian military batteries,” Abbott told Fairfax Media.
“As I said to president Putin at the time, ‘I don’t hold you personally responsible, but I do hold your broadly responsible for what has happened, because you have instigated this conflict, you have supported the rebels, and your missile launcher has brought down the plane’.”
Abbott says this makes Putin “heavily responsible, if not personally guilty” for the atrocity, which took the lives of 38 Australians.
“We should be making it absolutely crystal clear that until this matter is settled, there will be no lifting of sanctions. If anything we should look at the acceleration of sanctions,” Abbott says.
It appears Abbott’s firm stance on the issue has the support from Opposition leader Bill Shorten who took to Twitter to say that the time for Russia to fully cooperate with international efforts to find justice for those killed in the senseless and criminal act is now.
It's time for Russia to fully cooperate with international efforts to find justice for those who lost their lives on MH17. https://t.co/vbWFqrubIJ
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) September 28, 2016