The Prime Minister spoke to President Putin this evening and made clear that the shooting down of MH17 was totally unacceptable. The evidence suggested that pro-Russian separatists were responsible and the Prime Minister made clear that if Russia wants to put the blame elsewhere they would need to present compelling and credible evidence.
The PM made clear that our priority is to get experts to the crash site so they can recover and repatriate the victims and collect any evidence necessary for the investigation. The PM emphasised that the families of 298 individuals need to know that everything is being done to make this happen and called on President Putin to use his influence on the pro-Russian separatists to ensure this happens. The delay and restrictions so far were completely unacceptable and indefensible.
The PM said that the tragedy had brought into sharp focus the consequences of destabilisation in Eastern Ukraine. The G7 and EU had repeatedly called on President Putin to cease support for the separatists and to work with the rest of the world to find a peaceful resolution. Russia’s failure to do so had contributed to an appalling tragedy.
European foreign ministers would be meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to consider further sanctions on Russia given its inaction. The world was now watching and President Putin must change course and work to bring stability to Eastern Ukraine.