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Monday, November 17, 2014

No "shirt-fronting" at G20 in Brisbane

Vladimir Putin was the elephant in the room at the G20 Meeting on Saturday.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told him "I guess I'll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you - you need to get out of Ukraine."

Rude and arrogant?  Definitely, but he was the only one game enough to say out loud what the others were thinking.

President Obama, speaking at Brisbane university told the audience that Russia's aggression towards Ukraine was a "threat to the world", citing the murder of 37 Australians on board MH17.  "As your ally and friend, America shares the grief of these Australian families and we share the determination of your nation for justice and accountability" he said.

Tony Abbott's announcement last month that he intended to "shirt-front" Putin didn't help.  "I am going to say to Mr Putin that Australians were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment. We are very unhappy about this."

But there was no shirt-fronting and the two men politely shook hands and exchanged a few words before posing for photographs.

On Saturday afternoon, Russian state television released a "sensational" satellite photo of the last seconds of flight MH17 over Ukraine which shows a fighter jet firing a missile towards a commercial aircraft.  

Online aviation communities tore the error-ridden image apart, as well as the investigative journalism site Bellingcat.

The MH17 plane in the photo appears to be a Boeing 767 rather than a 777, the Mayasian airlines logo is in the wrong place and a near identical image can be seen when goggling "Boeing top view."

Julie Bishop and John Kerry

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop denounced the photo as "quite clearly Photoshopped." 

"It would seem that the picture of the jet was something just downloaded from Google" she said.  "So if that is another attempt by Russia to blame Ukraine for what is clearly in our mind, from the evidence that we've seen, a matter involving Russia, then it's a pretty sad state of affairs."