MH17 crash clouds over G20 trade summit
G20 chair Australia has sought to keep the meeting focused on economic growth, but Thursday’s disaster in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine put the spotlight on Russia and its possible links to the separatists. Australia’s trade minister Andrew Robb said he met his Russian counterpart Denis Manturov late Friday to press him on whether his country ‘would or could stop the separatists with their current activities’.
‘Australia is looking for an unequivocal Russian assurance that they will fully cooperate with an independent and thorough UN investigation and urgently,’ the trade minister told broadcaster Sky News on Saturday.
‘The Russian trade minister did convey their deep condolences and indicate the government would cooperate with ... (a) UN investigation. They did not give me an assurance that Russia would or could stop the separatists with their current activities,’ he added.
Robb said Canberra may consider trade sanctions against Russia as a result of the crash, which killed 298 people, including 28 Australians, subject to how it ‘responds, cooperates and is proactive in seeking answers’.
Australia, along with several other countries, already has imposed sanctions and travel bans on some Russians and Ukrainians.
Senior ministers have refused on comment on whether Russian leader Vladimir Putin would be invited to the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, in November.