Payne ramps up MH17 pressure on Russia

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Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has called out Russia for not accepting the findings of the independent investigation into the shooting-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine.

Ms Payne, at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, met with foreign ministers from The Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium and Malaysia to hold Russia responsible.

“Today, my colleagues from the other Joint Investigation Team countries and I met in New York and reaffirmed our commitment to establishing the truth behind the downing of MH17 and prosecuting those responsible,” Ms Payne, who is leading Australia’s delegation at the UN General Assembly this week, said in a statement.

“I reaffirmed our unconditional support for the JIT’s independent investigation.

“We regret that Russia has not accepted the factual findings of the JIT to date and reiterate that Australia has full confidence in the impartiality, independence and professionalism of the JIT and in its findings.”

The Dutch-led JIT concluded MH17 was shot down in 2014 by a Russian-made Buk missile, killing 298 people including 38 Australians.

“My Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, also took this opportunity to brief our colleagues from the other JIT countries on our decision to hold Russia responsible, under international law, for its part in the downing of MH17 and reaffirmed our common resolve,” Ms Payne, describing Tuesday’s meeting, said.

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