Queensland’s premier says locals don’t want the Russian president in their state for the G20 summit unless he helps a probe into the MH17 tragedy.
Queensland’s premier says Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t welcome at this year’s G20 conference unless he co-operates with a probe into the MH17 disaster.
Flags across the state will fly at half mast on Saturday in tribute to the seven Queenslanders who were among 298 killed when a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine.
Suspicion has fallen on Russian-backed rebels armed with Russian artillery, but Mr Putin has said Ukraine bears responsibility for the crash.
He has blamed that country’s crackdown on separatist rebels for stoking tensions.
On Friday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott stopped short of declaring Mr Putin unwelcome at the November G20 leaders summit in Brisbane, telling reporters he would wait to see what transpired.
On Saturday, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman called on Mr Putin and the Russian government to fully co-operate with an independent international investigation.
“If Mr Putin’s not prepared to do that, well frankly I believe that Queenslanders don’t want him here at the G20,” Mr Newman told reporters in Brisbane.
“He has the opportunity to demonstrate some good faith and that can be done by properly getting behind international efforts to get to the bottom of what is clearly, in my view, a crime, a terrible crime.”
Mr Newman said the Russian president’s presence at the summit was ultimately Mr Abbott’s decision, but he felt he was speaking for Queenslanders.
He urged anyone impacted by the tragedy who needed further counselling support to call Lifeline.
“We will do everything we can to support the (victims’) families and friends,” he said.
“We would also though ask that people in the community rally together to support those people.”
Australia’s Ukrainian community is holding anti-Putin protests in Sydney on Saturday and is calling for the Russian president to be banned from the G20.